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Roots producer responds to remake criticism

Do Not UseDo Not Use 1/06/2016
Will Packer © Getty Images Will Packer

The producer of a US remake of Roots has defended the show after it was criticised by Snoop Dogg.

The cast of Roots: The remake of Roots was announced in 2013 © Getty Images The remake of Roots was announced in 2013

The rapper had posted an expletive-laden video on Instagram where he said too many black-focused films and TV shows focused on slavery.

Snoop Dogg criticised the show in a video he posted on Instagram © Getty Images Snoop Dogg criticised the show in a video he posted on Instagram

"When are you going to make a series about the success black folks is having?" he said.

The show's producer Will Packer said its critics were "uncomfortable revisiting the reality of that time".

He added: "I understand it. But at the same time, I vehemently disagree."

Roots is a remake of the original 1977 series, based on the book by Alex Haley, which was hugely popular - consistently reaching around 30 million viewers during its run.

Viewing figures peaked for the series finale at 36 million - the third most watched programme in US TV history.

In 2013, it was announced that the series would be remade with Forest Whitaker and newcomer Malachi Kirby as Kunta Kinte.

The first episode of the new miniseries was watched by 5.3 million viewers in the US on Monday evening.

The remaining episodes are being broadcast every night this week.

Packer said he felt there was "irony" in Snoop Dogg criticising the show whilst also using racist terms, such as the N-word, in the video.

"I couldn't help but think there's a ghost of some horrendous slave owner that is smiling and smirking as he watches this black man call himself that," Packer said.

The rapper had initially said that films and TV shows with predominantly black lead characters such as 12 Years A Slave, Roots and Underground only focused on negative topics such as slavery.

"I'm sick of this, they're just going to keep beating that into our heads about about how they did us," he said.

"I don't understand America, they want to keep showing the abuse that we took hundreds of years ago."

In an interview with the Tallahassee Democrat, Packer responded: "I don't think we should get too comfortable as a country, as a society or as a race of people."

"I think this is a story that's important enough it should be told in repeated ways."

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