Kunta Kinte

Hi Readers,

As some of you are aware, it has been awhile since I have posted.

However, not for a lack of material-but the interference of life!!!!!!!

I want to give a heartfelt thanks to all who kept visiting my site in the brief interim.

This past holiday season media giant BET aired the provocative and still relevant T.V. miniseries Roots.

I am somewhat surprised that this series still has the power to evoke certain emotions within me.

Emotions???

Anger

Outrage

Empathy

Sympathy

Forgiveness??

Before we discuss forgiveness, let’s discuss the other emotions.

I guess this is about the 3rd or 4th time that I have viewed Roots since its debut in the 1970’s.

I remember clearly the first time I actually sat down to watch Roots.

My whole (dysfunctional) family sat down to watch it together.

Why, now that I think about it, this is the first time that we ever united or bonded in this way.

Well maybe bonded doesn’t quite cut it.

Anyway, nobody spoke. We barely breathed.

The images of Lavar Burton in chains left us all absolutely speechless.

For my grandmother, the bitter rage and anger was visible.

I remember my 7 or 8 year old (older) brother laughing at the stark nudity of the women in the African village.

As for me-an imaginative 6 or 7 year old, I felt bewildered.

I distinctly remember going to school the next day and hearing the teachers discuss this rare event.

I think there was an underlying fear among the white teachers and an overt anger among the African American teachers.

There were some themes in the series that my father made a light joke of.

When an older Kunta married the middle aged cook Belle, they had a slave wedding and jumped the broom.

My father kidded my grandmother that she and my grandfather jumped the broom.

Moments in the series where I felt the most burning anger were:

Kunta’s first brutal beating when he refused the slave name Toby….

Kunta’s feet being chopped off to keep him from running away…..

Kunta’s daughter-Kizzie being sold away and the reaction of her childhood white friend….

The rape of young Kizzie by her new master….

Of all of the themes treated in the movie, I believe the rape of Kizzie resonated the most with me and my family.

For me????

The rise of bitter bile, anger, rage and helplessness has its appeal in the reality of life for Black women in slavery.

For most young women, their first encounter with sex is a much anticipated and coveted event.

In the series, Kizzie had a teenaged crush on a suitor.

Unfortunately, she violated a sacred rule of being literate and wrote a pass for Noah-her suitor.

As a result, she was sold.

Anyway, her first encounter in her new home was a brutal rape.

Please readers, ponder a moment….

Coupled with the unimaginable heartache of being torn away from the only family you have ever known, raped, and then forced to bear the rapist’s child.

I guess the reason for the anger is that not much has changed for Black women.

I guess what has changed is that her violator is more often than not a Black man. (This is a story for another time).

Don’t get me wrong, there were other poignant scenes where I empathized and sympathized.

If I was a gambler, I would wager that the rape of Kizzie provoked an unspeakable rage in the adult males in my family.

Why???

Imagine being a man-a Black man and rendered helpless when your daughter is violated.

The only time that I could summon a positive mood was watching Kizzie’s prankster son George.

I know to some he may have conformed to a stereotype with his happy go-lucky attitude.

For me however, he was a much needed respite.

He in a sense lifted the burden of a deep sadness within me.

His character is perhaps the only reason why I can watch this series every few years.

Although the movie ended on a positive note, I still feel a great trepidation because of new trials and tribulations that were in store for the newly freed-that still haunts the Black American experience to this day.

Until next time………

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