Levar Burton, Ben Vereen, Lesley Uggams and Louis Gossett, Jr. were on “The Wendy Williams” show to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of “Roots”. While there they discussed life after Roots and the “Django” controversy.
If you remember Quention Tarantino made some remarks about the authenticity of the mini-series “Roots” that was based on Alex Haley’s book. He said that Roots was inauthentic in its depiction of slavery.
“When you look at Roots, nothing about it rings true in the storytelling, and none of the performances ring true for me either,” said Tarantino. “I didn’t see it when it first came on, but when I did I couldn’t get over how oversimplified they made everything about that time. It didn’t move me because it claimed to be something it wasn’t.”
Ironically, an airing of “Roots” on the BET network was paid for by the producers of “Django…” as a lead up to the the film’s Christmas Day release.
In the months that followed, many more personalities in Hollywood came out both in favor of and against “Django Unchained,” but we had not heard from the cast of “Roots”–until now.
Louis Gossett “Quentin Tarantino is a very clever man, very brilliant, brilliant movie,” Louis Gossett, Jr. began diplomatically. ” [But] The N word… I’m old enough to remember the knee-jerk reactions when I hear the word and there were too many of them for me.
Levar Burton toed the line saying that he enjoyed “Django” but wanted Tarantino to explain his statements,
Ms. Uggams said she did not see the film and reacted strongly to Tarantino’s criticisms of “Roots. We’re telling our Black story, he ain’t Black!”
Watch the full interview below: