Tavis Smiley, in the Daily Beast, talks about Django Unchained:

Tarantino even went on the record saying Roots was inauthentic. First of all, Tarantino is not a historian. When people see his film who don’t have any understanding of history, they take it as history, because Tarantino passes himself off as a historian by declaring Roots inauthentic, and then goes on to make the “authentic” story about slavery. It doesn’t tell the truth about what the black contribution to this country has been. Tarantino has the right to make whatever films he wants to make. What he’s not entitled to is his own set of facts and to lecture black people about the inauthenticity of an iconic, game-changing series like Roots.

I think* Tavis is referring to this quote, also from the Daily Beast.  Here’s what QT said, in its context:

“When you look at Roots, nothing about it rings true in the storytelling, and none of the performances ring true for me either,” says Tarantino. “I didn’t see it when it first came on, but when I did I couldn’t get over how oversimplified they made everything about that time. It didn’t move me because it claimed to be something it wasn’t.”

  1. Worth reading TS’s own description of what the black contribution to this country has been, which gave me something ELSE to think about.
  2. Boy it would be hard to watch an authentic movie about slavery.  Hard enough to watch Django which was a super cool, entertaining adventure story but which also has some scenes that are awful raw to look at.
  3. Ta-Nehisi Coates weighs in here with about why slave-revenge stories are rare in the historical record.  (but is this movie really a revenge story?  might it not just be a blown-out version of the dynamic TNC describes?  “the preservation and security of their particular black families.” TNC declines to see the movie.)
  4. QT has more thoughts on Roots here, from 5:07-7:35 or so:

And what about this?:

GROSS: Just one other related question. Did you ever – because I know you really enjoy, have always enjoyed really violent movies. Have you ever been exposed to a movie image – even like when you were a child or as an adult that you wished you hadn’t seen because it was so troubling and scary and you had nightmares about it and hunted you?

TARANTINO: Well, you make that that’s not supposed to happen, like that would be a bad thing.

Or this?:

TARANTINO: Yeah. Well, it was almost like a sitcom, actually the way we lived in the ’70s because she [QT is talking about his mom here] was in her 20s, she was hot, all right, she was a hot white girl. Her best friend was named Jackie. She was a hot black girl. And her other best friend was Lillian and she was a hot Mexican girl. And they lived in this like swinging singles apartment with me.


GROSS: What impact did that have on you?

TARANTINO: Yeah, well, it was just yeah, it was just, you know, it was the ’70s so it was, you know, I lived with these three hip ladies all going out on dates all the time and dating football players and basketball players and, you know, my mother…

GROSS: Professionals ones or…

TARANTINO: Yeah. Yeah. My mom dated Wilt Chamberlain. She’s one of the thousand.



Puzzled for a minute over who QT sounds like before realizing: Richard Kind.

*  pretty sure.  did due diligence googling, unless he’s referring to some unprinted comment or something on a TV or radio show.  I listened to all of QT on Howard Stern, Charlie Rose, and Terry Gross.

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