Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Black Television TravelsAfrican American Media around the Globe$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Timothy Havens

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814737200

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814737200.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 29 May 2022

Roots and the Perils of African American Television Drama in a Global World

Roots and the Perils of African American Television Drama in a Global World

(p.29) 1 Roots and the Perils of African American Television Drama in a Global World
Black Television Travels

Timothy Havens

NYU Press

This chapter looks at the miniseries Roots (1977), which became a worldwide sensation. The show's portrayals of blackness, particularly black masculinity, draws on black nationalist and Black Power discourses circulating in American society at the time. The chapter reviews how these discourses served differing institutional needs of American, Western European, and Eastern European broadcasters, as well as how other features of the miniseries helped and hindered its export potential. Because miniseries addressing white American history were the main beneficiaries of the international popularity of Roots, the miniseries genre did not become a vehicle for African American stories in the early eighties. Instead, African American characters were relegated to integrated situation comedies involving an otherwise white cast and white cultural surroundings.

Keywords:   Roots, African American television, blackness, black masculinity, Black Power, white American history, miniseries genre

NYU Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.