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Quentin Tarantino says ‘Roots’ was inauthentic

Quentin Tarantino’s highly-anticipated Django Unchained hasn’t even hit theaters yet, but it’s already become the most controversial film of the season, with its central theme of slavery being mashed up with the extreme violence and humor of a classic Blaxploitation film. And though the film is already causing a stir, the film’s director, Quentin Tarantino, recently stirred up even more drama when he criticized the landmark television miniseries “Roots.”

Since its 1977 debut, Alex Haley’s “Roots'” has been considered a “complete” and definitive telling of slavery in America and it still ranks as the third most-watched miniseries of all time. But in a new interview with The Daily Beast, Tarantino says 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.”

Django Unchained’s producer Reginald Hudlin also shared Tarantino’s distaste for Roots, saying that he preferred the Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman flick Glory instead.

“I liked the black characters in Glory,” said Hudlin, whose great-grandfather was a conductor on the Underground Railroad. “Didn’t see the point of the white ones. The true story was the slaves in the film. They should have been the main focal point of the entire plot. But somehow no one figured that out.”

However, both men feel confident that Django Unchained gives an accurate depiction of the lives of black American slaves. And though black celebrities like Spike Lee have already shared their disdain for Django Unchained, the film’s stars Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington have both praised Tarantino’s filmmaking, saying that he thoroughly researched the time period for the film.

Well, hopefully, Tarantino won’t present a film that will make him eat his own words and put Django on the list with these other films that were racially offensive. Check them out below. – nicholas robinson


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  1. Achebe Chinua on December 29, 2012 at 9:55 am

    This is why we of the African diaspora must pay attention! While I have enjoyed a few of Mr. Tarantino’s films, it appears he believes his association with us gives him all the knowledge about us. His comments on Roots, albeit known that Mr. Haley took much license in the work, touches on the bases of revisionism: If the subject matter is not pleasing in the sight of white america, it must be incorrect!

    • Devil_Dinosaur on November 17, 2013 at 4:01 am

      It would appear that he bases his knowledge on research, not “his association with us,” whatever that means. He said Roots was inaccurate, therefore he didn’t like it; not the other way around, as you would have it. Using sophistry to fuel your reactionary irrationality isn’t doing a service to you, or anyone else. Rethink it.

  2. Proud_West_Philly_Gal2 on January 10, 2013 at 12:24 am

    With all due respect to 21st century story telling and movie making, how about taking into consideration that Alex Haley’s Roots was created for television in the late 70’s – a family drama that brought all diverse groups together in what would be one of the most poignant and candid conversation about slavery in America.

  3. chuck giles on January 19, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I’m Black, I’ve seen roots, I studied african american history, and I agree with quinton! watching the whole time i was waiting for something that was a more accurate interpretation of things and it was just a cut and dry black and white in and out movie!