Enslaved: Episode 1, Cultures Left Behind

Sunday, Oct.18 9pm/9:30 NT on CBC and CBC Gem. In the first episode of Enslaved, Samuel L. Jackson discovers his roots in what is now Gabon

In the first episode of Enslaved, Samuel L. Jackson discovers his roots in what is now Gabon

Enslaved: Samuel L. Jackson in his ancestral homeland


3 months agoVideo
A DNA test revealed that Samuel L. Jackson was descended from the Benga people of Gabon. When he went to Gabon to meet them, they initiated him into the tribe as a lost son. 1:49

Having traced his DNA to the Benga people of Gabon, Hollywood icon and activist Samuel L. Jackson takes a deeply personal journey to his ancestral homeland to meet today's Benga leaders. They welcome him as a long lost son and initiate him into the tribe. 

Then, he goes one step further. He turns his personal odyssey into a monumental effort to educate the world about the history transatlantic slave trade. He recruits divers from "Diving With a Purpose" (DWP)—a group of African-American divers and historians who search wrecks related to the slave trade—to go in search of sunken slave ships.

Samuel L. Jackson and Gabon Minister of Culture, Franck Nguema, greeting people in Libreville, Gabon (Jolade Olusanya/Associated Producers/Cornelia Street)

In this episode, the DWP team travels to the Florida Keys, where they search for a slave ship that went down off the Florida coast. In the process, viewers are exposed to the cultural legacy of Africa. 

This episode is shot on location in Gabon, Ghana and Florida. 

An anchor believed to be from the British anti-slavery patrol ship HMS Nimble, Florida Keys area, USA. (Josh Williams/Associated Producers/Cornelia Street)
Samuel L. Jackson standing at Pointe St. Catherines (“Point of No Return”) in Loango National Park, Gabon. (Jolade Olusanya/Associated Producers/Cornelia Street)

Enslaved starts Oct. 17 at 9 p.m. on documentary Channel and Oct. 18 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC and CBC Gem.

Enslaved contains disturbing depictions of the inhumanity faced by enslaved people from African countries during the transatlantic slave trade, which may be traumatizing to some viewers. If you need support, there are resources available across the country, you can find links to a number of these resources in this post, curated by the Unison Benevolent Fund: https://www.unisonfund.ca/blog/post/mental-health-resources-black-canadians