Questlove Named Music Producer of Upcoming Roots Remake

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

A+E Networks is taking on the gargantuan task of remaking the television version of Roots, which was adapted from Alex Haley’s decades-spanning tome that follows the author’s family from their homeland in Africa to America where they live as slaves. The original miniseries, which aired over several days, was a major event when it played on TVs in the late 1970s. Deadline has more on the premise:

Roots is an historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family’s will to survive, endure and ultimately carry on their legacy despite enormous hardship and inhumanity. Spanning multiple generations, the lineage begins with young Kunta Kinte who is captured in his homeland in The Gambia and transported in brutal conditions to colonial America where he’s sold into slavery. Throughout the series, the family continues to face adversity while bearing witness and contributing to notable events in U.S. history – including the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings and eventual emancipation.

Deadline reports that, like the previous version, the new Roots will play out over four nights and eight hours. Each episode will get its own director (the first two named are Phillip Noyce and Thomas Carter) and the music will be presided over by Philly-bred Roots drummer and Tonight Show band member Questlove. As Executive Music Producer, Questlove is tasked with “creating the authentic African sound and themes for the characters as well as producing the overall sound as the music progresses each night.”

The miniseries is slated to air in 2016 and will be simulcast on A&E, History and Lifetime.