Taking to Twitter, the TV legend shared a picture of himself rocking a hoodie with the name of his iconic character “Kunta Kinte” as a nod to the role while simultaneously shouting out the Black woman who designed it. In the picture shared over the weekend, Burton is seen wearing sunglasses, black jeans, and a hoodie with the name “Toby” crossed out above the name “Kunta Kinte.” In the caption for the post, the actor wrote, “Don’t get it twisted!”
A follow-up tweet expounded on why he felt the need to show the designer love, revealing that many are attempting to steal her design, before sharing the link on where his fans can buy the top.
“Lotta folks out here perpetrating…. buyer beware! #bydhttmwfi #caveatemptor”
— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) December 12, 2021
The character, who appears in the late Alex Haley’s revolutionary 1976 novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family, which was adapted for a television miniseries, was derived from one of Haley’s ancestors, a Gambian man born in 1750 who was enslaved and transported to America, where he later died in 1822. Haley remarked that the experiences of Kinte’s life were a combination of fact and fiction. The design was also seen on the tombstone used in the 1977 Roots television series.
Although it may seem as if LeVar Burton has time, the Reading Rainbow megastar has recently been tapped to host the 94th Scripps National Spelling Bee. The 21-time Emmy-winning actor will host the television portion of the two-day event in June, according to a press release.
“Hosting the Scripps National Spelling Bee will be an honor,” Burton said in a statement. “Like a lot of folks, I look forward to the competition every year and am excited to be a part of this wonderful tradition that celebrates excellence.”
On top of career-defining roles as “Kunta Kinte” in Roots and “Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge” in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Burton was the long-time host of PBS’ Reading Rainbow and has remained an advocate for children’s education. Dr. J. Michael Durnil, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, believes that Burton and the Bee are a perfect fit.
“The selection of Mr. Burton as host aligns with the mission of the Scripps National Spelling Bee,” Durnil said in a statement. “To have such a prominent advocate for children’s literacy involved in this special and unique competition is a perfect match. We have the same goals: to educate tomorrow’s leaders and build reading competency in all young people.”
The broadcast will start with the semifinals on June 1 and end with the finals the following day. Schools have until January 31 to enroll in the spelling bee. Regional spelling bees will take place between February 1 and March 31.