Snoop Dogg is encouraging Black People to boycott the new movie remake of Roots. Being very vocal his objections, Snoop said, “… [F] that old [ish] …” This response is not shocking or surprising to me. This is a typical reaction some black people have when they see a “slave movie.”
Let’s face it, watching black people being beat and humiliated by White slave owners is very painful. These period pieces can easily make Black people angry and frustrated, since there is nothing we can do to right those wrongs. Thus, many of us go the route of dismissing and devaluing the past which is a reason why African Americans know very little about their own family history and genealogy.
Umm, The Irony
I find it ironic that Snoop Dogg would go so far as to call for Black people to boycott the new Roots movie. I see how hip hop culture venerates movies likes Scarface, The Godfather, and The Sopranos which has Italian mobsters who don’t like Blacks. Yet, for Roots which deals with the historic tragedy and triumphs of a Black family, Snoop thinks it’s BS. I would think that he could relate to a movie that is “keeping it real” especially since the content of his music was called into question in the early 90′s. Not long after Snoop started his music career, C. Delores Tucker, numerous politicians, and community activists called for the boycott and ban of gangsta rap. In one testimony about gangsta rap, Tucker said, “Enough is enough…I am here to put the nation on notice that violence perpetuated against women through the music industry in the forms of gangsta rap and misogynistic lyrics will not be tolerated any longer. Principle must come before profit.”
While I definitely do not like a lot of the subject matter contained in gangsta rap and hardcore rap, I disagree with those who want to ban it. We have the freedom to choose what we want to hear and see, in fact Snoop Dogg has endorsed this freedom in the past. In a 1994 interview, he told Arsenio Hall, “Right now, I’m just trying to rap…If you don’t like it, don’t listen to it, but if you like it go on and get it.” Interestingly, Arsenio asked Snoop what he thought of the politicians who blamed [social] conditions on art. Snoop responded, “Crime has been going on before art been going on. Before anybody picked up the microphone and said they gonna make a rap, people was getting killed..they making it like we the problem, we trying to solve the problem by bringing these problems to your face. So you can understand and see exactly what we go through.” Isn’t Roots taking the same approach by showing the inhumanity of slavery and the success of a family who overcame this oppression?
Inspiration to do Better
When I reflect upon the accomplishments of my ancestors, I am inspired by how much they achieved despite the enormous challenges working against them. This is why I like looking at historical movies like Roots, because it serves as a reminder not to be complacent. These types of movies often light a fire under me to keep pressing on to gain more and more ground. So, Snoop, for me #OldStuffMatters.
** Warning, Profanity **