The Roots drummer/leader will serve as executive music producer for A&E’s remake of Alex Haley’s classic, Roots.
Based on the late Haley’s 1976 novel of the same name, Roots centers on Kunta Kinte, an African-born man sold into U.S. slavery during the 18th century. The new project will air in 2016 on A&E, Lifetime and the History Channel. A&E will also release the miniseries internationally under the A&E Studios International banner.
“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. The story of Kunta Kinte and the women and men who came after him echoes through the history of millions of Americans of African descent, and reveals powerful truths about the universal resilience of the human spirit,” read a press statement.
The four night, eight-hour historical portrait of the darkest time in U.S. history will feature African arrangements and tunes. A press release stated that Questlove will “create the authentic African sound and themes for the characters as well as produce the overall sound as the music progresses each night,” Indiewire reported.
Directors Phillip Noyce (Patriot Games, Salt) and Thomas Carter (Coach Carter) are slated to helm nights one and three respectively. A&E has not announced who will be directing nights two and four. The network has also announced that Laurence Fishburne will play Alex Haley for the project.
As for Grammy-winner Questlove, he already has previous experience producing music for television on The Dave Chapelle Show and Inside Amy Schumer.
A&E Studio’s production is in association with Marc Toberoff and The Wolper Organization, and the miniseries is executive produced by Will Packer, Toberoff, Mark Wolper, Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal. LeVar Burton and Korin Huggins are co-executive producers. Konner, Rosenthal, Alison McDonald and Charles Murray are writing the series.