Last month, Hollywood Reporter reported that actor Laurence Fishburne—best known for his roles in the Matrix trilogy and Boyz in the Hood—would play the role of Alex Haley in the upcoming Roots remake. This made-for-television movie, which will be co-produced by LeVar Burton (the first Kunta Kinte) and Mark Wolper (son of David Wolper, the producer of the original mini-series), will air on the History Channel, A&E, and Lifetime networks in 2016. Also, it was announced that the film would be scored by QuestLove, drummer for The Roots (the house band on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon). What initially seemed to be just another unnecessary remake could actually turn out to be quite an extraordinary film.
I recently returned from a trip to Portland, Oregon, often cited as one of the literary capitals of America. In an age when bookstores have all but disappeared, bookstores in the Rose City are ubiquitous, most notably Powell’s, which takes up an entire downtown city block. Once inside, I wasn’t surprised to find a palette stacked with copies of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchmen. The book, written more than sixty years ago, but released on July 14, has received mixed reviews. The excitement from the anticipation of the sequel to Lee’s masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird, has waned as critics and fans alike seem disappointed with the emergence of a more conservative and racially insensitive Atticus Finch—a far cry from the character we fell in love with in our high school English class. Click here for an interesting commentary that offered an alternative take on the evolution of the man Americans (once) deemed as their moral compass.
Finally, Alex Haley’s Roots: An Author’s Odyssey continues to make its mark. It has received 33 reviews on Amazon (mostly awarded four or five stars). I was delighted to see it was shelved at my local library. When I went there recently, I found the paperback version in the “New Book” section. Although, I would have been more pleased to see it was checked out!
I am nearing the completion of the first draft of my second book, Under One Roof. Over the past month, I’ve conducted several interviews, including an hour-long conversation with the son, Ralph Wimbish, Jr., of the book’s central figure, Dr. Ralph M. Wimbish. Progress is slow but steady. Plans to take a trip to St. Petersburg, Florida, the site of where the book takes place, are in the works.