Roots Star LeVar Burton Wants to Know Why Miniseries Needs Remake 

The actor who played Kunta Kinte in the 1970s TV drama doesn’t see a reason for a remake but says it could be “worth it” if it changes people’s hearts once again.

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LeVar Burton

 Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

In an interview with New York magazine, Roots star LeVar Burton had one simple question about the History Channel’s intended remake of the popular 1970s miniseries: “My initial reaction was, why?” Burton said in the interview.

The actor proudly spoke of the original TV drama, saying that it wasn’t “just art for art’s sake” but, rather, “art as a way of moving the culture forward.” Many agree, since the beloved series is still watched in households today and remains a major part of American culture. Many have argued that remaking a series that was never flawed is sacrilege. 

Still, Burton is reservedly hopeful and acknowledged that the remake might not be so bad if it manages to provoke the sensibilities of the people the same way its predecessor did.

“The bottom line for me is if one soul is moved irrevocably toward the side of humanity, then it’s worth it,” Burton said. “Human beings are the laziest creatures in the history of creation. We would rather not do anything if we could avoid it. But social justice requires rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty. And I think moments like Roots and 12 Years a Slave are opportunities for art as a cultural force to step forward and lead the way. What we do with it is up to us.”

Read more at New York magazine.

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