'Roots' actor Ben Vereen featured in Loyola film screening event tonight
Loyola press release - February 25, 2013
Loyola University New Orleans will host actor Ben Vereen, best known for his role as Chicken George in the 1977 TV miniseries “Roots,” in a film screening of “Kunta Kinteh Island: Coming Home Without Shackles” Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. in Nunemaker Auditorium located in Monroe Hall on Loyola’s main campus. The documentary film tells the story of an African captive slave, Kunta Kinteh, who gained worldwide recognition in “Roots.” The free film screening is open to the public and is part of a series of Loyola events celebrating Black History Month.
Produced by Elvin Ross Studios, the documentary aims to educate a new generation about the tale of Mandinka Warrior Kinteh who was enslaved, brought to America and survived traumatic circumstances. The film also profiles people from his West African village of Juffereh, Gambia. An educational symposium will follow the film screening, giving Loyola students a chance to speak with the filmmaker, New Orleans native Elvin Ross.
The film is set in the ruins of an island in Gambia formerly known as James Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site significant for its role in the beginning and end of the slave trade. The island was officially renamed Kunta Kinteh Island in February 2011. Vereen narrates the film, playing a grandfather re-telling his family’s history, including the tale of Kinteh and the island, to his young grandson.
Vereen is featured in the film along with former Jackson 5 singer Jermaine Jackson and Gambian President Yahya Jammeh. The documentary also aims to raise money for the Elvin Ross Foundation, which seeks to provide general funding, books and solar laptops to a primary school in the village of Juffereh, Gambia.
For more information, contact Mikel Pak, associate director of public affairs at 504-861-5448.