election 2020

LeVar Burton Schools Keith Olbermann on How to Pronounce ‘Kunta Kinte’

Keith Olbermann and LeVar Burton. Photo-Illustration: Vulture, Getty Images and Shutterstock

Here’s a front-runner in the race for best drag of Election Day: LeVar Burton telling Keith Olbermann how to actually pronounce “Kunta Kinte.” Early into the day, former ESPN and MSNBC host Olbermann took a break from ceaselessly promoting the same two-minute video clip on Twitter to comment on Donald Trump’s phone call into Fox & Friends. “Yes, @realDonaldTrump has always been, will always be, and on the day of his bid for re-election, still is: a whiny little Kunta Kinte,” Olbermann tweeted (he has since deleted the tweet). He used the name of one of the central characters in the 1976 book and 1977 ABC miniseries Roots (remade by the History Channel in 2016), a Gambian man enslaved and taken to America, where he tried to escape from his owners multiple times and eventually had his foot cut off in punishment.

What could that possibly have to do with Trump? Olbermann tried to explain in an apology tweet. “I was using an old 70’s-80’s technique for calling somebody a c*** without writing/saying c***, just using a sound-alike to call Trump a c***,” he wrote. Except not quite, as Star Trek and Reading Rainbow icon LeVar Burton, who played young Kunta Kinte in the 1977 series, pointed out. “Dear @KeithOlbermann,” he wrote. “#Kunta is pronounced with a long ‘u’ as in unity, not a short ‘u’ as in cup. Try again! Love, Kunta.”

LeVar Burton Teaches Keith Olbermann the Letter ‘U’