Black Actors Deserve Roles Beyond Those in Slave Dramas (New York Times)
By Nadra Nittle, New York Times Room for Debate, June 6, 2016
Unlike Snoop Dogg, I didn’t boycott the reboot of the groundbreaking miniseries “Roots.” I even look forward to the theatrical release of another slave narrative in the fall: “Birth of a Nation,” the story of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion.
But I do share Snoop Dogg's concern that many recent dramas starring blacks feature them in bondage and servitude. Such dramas should not be the main source of serious roles for black actors.
The challenges communities of color face today — the prison industrial complex, voter I.D. laws, the re-segregation of public schools — cannot be understood without contextual history. And the recent wave of films and television programs set during slavery and the Jim Crow era do serve an important role in chronicling some of that history.
But they don’t and can’t tell the whole story.