(AllHipHop News) Rapper T.I. was initially reluctant to sign on to the new “Roots” miniseries because he didn’t think the classic TV drama needed to be remade.
The “Whatever You Like” star plays runaway slave Cyrus in the historical miniseries, which is based on Alex Haley’s 1976 book, “Roots: The Saga of an American Family.”
The original 1977 production earned nine Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award, and spawned two sequels. The finale is still the third highest-rated U.S. TV program in broadcasting history and as a result, T.I., 35, was apprehensive about getting involved with the reboot.
“This was an opportunity that he presented to me, and of course initially he got a little bit of push back from me,” he told The Huffington Post. “I will admit that I was one of the ones to say, ‘Man, I don’t know if that needs to be remade.'”
The star also expressed concerns the show’s content was too emotional for producer Will Packer to take on.
He continued, “It was just a huge undertaking for him as a producer and for me as an actor to sign up to remake such a classic and to tell a story that has so much pain and just so much turmoil involved in it.”
However, once T.I. signed on for the project, he used his past experiences of incarceration to help prepare him for his role.
“I do know what it’s like to have your freedom be taken from you or to not have it be available to you,” he explained. “I kind of amplified my thoughts and how I felt when my freedom was separate and apart from me. So I kind of took that and pushed upon it, because Cyrus is actually thee most rebellious and non-subservient character that there is. You never see Cyrus in ‘Roots’ as a slave, he’s always a runaway slave – running, dodging bullets and doing whatever it takes to maintain his freedom. So it wasn’t as slave written as the rest of the characters (sic), but I think all of the characters collectively to the story are important.”
The slave drama has since been heavily criticized by rapper Snoop Dogg, who has called on fans to boycott the show and urged filmmakers and producers to focus their efforts on documenting the success of African-Americans, instead of revisiting their tough past.
The four-part miniseries also stars Laurence Fishburne, Forest Whitaker, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anna Paquin, Anika Noni Rose, and newcomer Malachi Kirby.
It debuted on The History Channel channel last night (May 30).