'Roots': More Than Just a Miniseries

Thirty-five years later, the slavery epic's influence is everywhere.

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Thirty-five years after ABC launched the series, we're still fighting the same battles with entertainment executives. In the past couple of weeks, director George Lucas, who produced Red Tails, the docudrama about the Tuskegee Airmen, went public about his difficulties getting distribution for the movie because it didn't feature any white stars. "One studio's executives didn't even show up for the screening," according to the New York Times.

"Isn't this their job?" Lucas told the Times. "Isn't their job at least to see movies? It's not like some Sundance kid coming in there and saying, 'I've got this little movie -- would you see it?' If Steven [Spielberg] or I or Jim Cameron or Bob Zemeckis comes in there and they say, 'We don't even want to bother to see it ... ' " Unfortunately, the more things change, the more Hollywood stays the same.

Teresa Wiltz is The Root's senior editor. Follow her on Twitter.

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