‘Straight Outta Compton’ Star Blasts ‘Roots’ Remake: ‘We Don’t Have to Keep Getting Beaten Up’

Mike Windle/Getty Images for The Critics' Choice Awards

Straight Outta Compton star O’Shea Jackson Jr. blasted the History Channel’s remake of the iconic series Roots in a recent brief interview, calling it another unnecessary production about black people “getting beat up.”

“All respect to all filmmakers, but we do have stories of triumph,” Jackson Jr. who played Ice Cube in last year’s blockbuster biopic about rap group N.W.A., told TMZ. “And we don’t necessarily have to keep getting beat up.”

“There was a black man who helped pioneer open-heart surgery,” said Jackson Jr., who is the son of rapper-actor Ice Cube. “Where’s that story at?”

“I want to get to other stories as a filmmaker myself, let’s just continue to get this door open,” he added.

The actor’s criticism of the History Channels’ remake of the 1977 slavery epic comes just a week after rapper Snoop Dogg went on an expletive-filled rant admonishing Hollywood executives for not making a “a f*cking series about the success that black folks is having.”

“I’m sick of this sh*t,” Snoop Dogg declared in his Instagram video, asking “How the f*ck they gonna put Roots on Memorial Day?”

Nearly four decades after the original version aired on ABC, the all-new eight-hour Roots series premiered across three networks simultaneously on Memorial Day. The new series was billed as an epic on race reimagined for the era of Black Lives Matter.

There is a whole generation of Americans who don’t know the story, don’t have a connection to Roots,” executive producer LeVar Burton, who starred as Kunta Kinte in the original, told the Hollywood Reporter about the decision to refresh the series. “It was still very daunting to even contemplate. But I felt that there was merit in trying. And if I could help make it as good as it could be, it would be much better than just sitting on the sidelines.”

Turned off by Hollywood’s seemingly predominant portrayal of black history as little more than stories about slavery, Snoop Dogg challenged filmmakers with his video to produce positive portrayals of black people on television and in film, as opposed to “old” slave narratives centered around suffering and failure.

“F*ck them television shows. Let’s create our own sh*t based on today, how we live, and how we inspire people today,” he said.

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson


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