The remake of the television mini-series, Roots, made it’s debut this week with an astounding 5.3 million viewers. Social media has shown its love, admiration, and support for the mini-series, while others have shown their dislike for the series, including John Amos, who was a part of the original series, has spoken out and said he didn’t believe people would be quite as interested. Snoop Dogg also spoke out against the remake of the series, stating that he is tired of slave films and tv shows, even advising his fans to boycott the show. Many people, including Roland Martin, called out Snoop Dogg and others who are tired of slave movies, but to be honest. I agree with Snoop Dogg. As much as I love the remake of the mini-series, I am tired of Hollywood investing in us when it’s time to talk about slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, and us playing the servants. Although slavery is a part of our history and American history, this isn’t the only part of the storyline. We’ve made major contributions to society besides working for free. With that in mind, here are 14 public figures and historical moments that deserve a movie.
1. African Dynasties
No in-depths details are needed. Before we were on plantations we were on the playing field…and not just in Egypt…and make sure you have actual black people are in this movie this time.
2. The Harlem Renaissance
Often referred to as the rebirth of African American art, it would be amazing to see the lives of the key artist and authors of this 1920s movement played out on the big screen. Be honest, you also want to see the Cotton Club come to life again.
3. Madame CJ Walker
This is a no-brainer. For those who don’t know, Walker was the first female self-made millionaire and one of the wealthiest African-American women in the country at the time. Between you and me, I think Queen Latifah should play her role and can do her justice.
4. Josephine Baker
The first black woman to star in a motion picture, and a world-famous entertainer, Baker was much more than a sassy woman in a banana skirt. The singer and entertainer used her platform to bring attention to issues people of color face. She vowed to never perform in segregated venues and she was the only female speaker at the March on Washington.
5. Maya Angelou
The late poet and activist set the bar for writers to come after her. Her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, catapulted her to international fame. Throughout her life and career, she’s met some of the most prominent figures in history, including Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, James Baldwin, and Oprah.
6. Alice Walker
Many thank Walker for giving us, The Color Purple, but many don’t know her struggles with depression, her relationship with singer Tracy Chapman, and her activist work in America and overseas.
7. Angela Davis/Assata Shakur/Huey P. Newton/Fred Hampton
Personally, I believe since all four of these people are prominent members of the Black Panther Party, I think it’s time for their stories to be brought to life. While the audience can learn from the rise and loss of Newton and Hampton, many can learn about how Davis carried her mission and work into modern day issues (and still impacts others today), and see Shakur’s strength to fight against the system and flee to Cuba. Hmmm I can smell the Oscar awards for that performance already.
8. Tulsa, Oklahama Bombing/Riots
The Black Business District of Tulsa, Oklahoma was the backdrop for one of the most horrific bombings and riots in the summer of 1921. It only right to pay homage to what was considered the home of Black Wall Street.
9. Watts Riots
Before the L.A Riots of the early 90s, a similar incident happened in 1965, when a motorist was driving drunk and while pulled over, a fight escalated. When the citizens found out, the city erupted causing over $40 million in property damage.
10. Motown Records
I am all here for the most influential, African-American-owned record label to be brought to the big screen! It would be like Empire…but in the 1960’s.
11. Grace Jones
This is a personal one for me. Anyone who knows my taste in music knows my admiration for Grace Jones. She’s honestly the most underappreciated music and fashion icon of all time. And please, if Lupita N’yongo isn’t portraying her don’t even bother making the film.
12. Latasha Harlin
Before Rekia Boyd and Sandra Bland, there was a Latasha Harlin, a 15-year-old California girl who was shot and killed by a Korean store shop owner for allegedly attempting to steal. When her killer, Soon Ja Du, was only punished with 5 years of probation, the city was enraged. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back and started the L.A. Riots. With the success of Fruitvale Station, I have no doubt that a biopic about Latasha and her events will break box office records.
13. L.A. Riots
To think the image above was taken only 24 years ago. Between the murder of Latasha Harlins and the verdict from the Rodney King trial, citizens of Los Angeles had enough and lit up the city...literally! Going down in history as the most costly riot in U.S history (costing over $1 billion in damages), people still reference and discussion the events and the aftermath of this early 90's riot. To some this is another part of black culture, I believe this is a part of American history.
14. Central Park 5
If you were alive during the late 80's/early 90s, most likely you'll remember the case of a New York City investment banker being brutally attacked and raped while jogging. What people didn't expect was that 5 men of color would be falsely accused and put under intense and unlawful scrutiny. That is the story behind Central Park 5, one of the biggest cases at that time. Recently, the five men settled out in court for $40 million, but the tension from the case is still there. Between a lengthy court trial and police corruption, Centra Park 5 is the case not often spoken of, yet still shows us the ugly truth of bias in the media and racism in America.
Honorable Mention: Nina Simone
Well, you know why...