West Coast rap icon Snoop Dogg got political over the Memorial Day weekend. In an Instagram video posted Monday ahead of the History Channel's debut of a Roots remake, the rapper blasted Hollywood over its frequent use of American slavery narratives in film and TV projects.
Snoop, 44, seemed incensed by the choice to air the remake on Memorial Day and condemned Hollywood's laziness in finding stories about how African-Americans live today. "I'm sick of this sh*t," Snoop said in the video, titled "Message."
Mentioning Roots and the 2013 film 12 Years a Slave, the rapper said he's fed up with watching projects about "the abuse we took hundreds and hundreds of years ago."
(Editor's note: This video includes strong language that some might find offensive.)
He also asked rhetorically: "They
Slavery is big on TV and at the box office.
For starters, Roots, the TV adaptation of author Alex
In addition to HISTORY's four-part Roots remake, cable
channel WGN aired the season finale of Underground on May 11. The action-drama series is about the Underground Railroad, which helped thousands of slaves
escape southern plantations to live freely in the Northern U.S.
As for the big screen, actor-director Nate Parker's Birth
of a Nation
That continues a string of successes for films about American slavery in recent years. Director Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave grossed over $56 million in domestic box offices, on a production budget of $22 million. It won the best picture at the Academy Awards in 2013 and earned actress Lupita Nyong'o a best supporting actress Oscar.
The legacy of slavery continues to this day.
There are reasons beyond financial success that slavery may be a crutch for film producers; it's an easy way to show media critics that studios haven't forgotten about Hollywood's diversity problem and tell complicated stories about the impacts of slavery. Most of the socioeconomic disparities in income, wealth, education and health between whites and blacks are rooted in institutionalized racism and date back to the Jim Crow era of segregation and slavery.
There's also the fact that slavery is still a problem
domestically and globally. Now more commonly referred
That's 20.9 million reasons why Hollywood should continue telling stories about slavery. To Snoop's point, Hollywood shouldn't be given a pass on finding forward-thinking ways to tell stories about black folks — but that also doesn't mean that creators shouldn't tell the stories they already are.