Here and There, Then and Now

Authored by: Ousmane K. Power-Greene

The Routledge Companion to Global Television

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138724341
eBook ISBN: 9781315192468
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores the global impact of the miniseries Roots (1977) on the way people of African descent have thought about the history of slavery, the slave trade, and Africa. It does this by comparing the audience response in the United States and the United Kingdom to both the 1970s miniseries and the reboot of Roots in 2016. By examining the way recent technological changes in media circulation intersect with global discourses on race, this chapter uses Roots, then, in the 1970s, and more recently, 2016, to offer a fresh perspective on the way audience responses can shape the creative output of writers and directors. Furthermore, it suggests that the impact of Roots stretched well beyond awards, financial and symbolic, because of the way it shaped how nations approach discussing uncomfortable truths about the origins and maintenance of oppressive social and economic structures deemed, by contemporary standards, immoral.

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