In January 1977 I was 6 years old when the original broadcast of the miniseries Roots came on ABC. Although I wasn’t old enough to see it in then, I have memories of watching it as an adolescent and being horrified. I vividly remember the feeling I had after seeing the scene when Kunta Kinte, played by LeVar “Reading Rainbow” Burton, was refusing to accept his slave name and was severely whipped until he finally said: Toby. The thought of that moment still gives me chills.
Tonight at 8pm EST on OWN, Oprah Winfrey is airing a special cast reunion “Oprah and the Legendary Cast of Roots 35 Years Later.” I’ll be watching. Let’s see what kind of chills I get this time.