BET’s ‘Book of Negroes’ Premiere Pulls 3.1 Million Viewers

Book of Negroes (2015) – Shailyn Pierre-Dixon 00

3.1 million viewers tuned in for BET’s two-hour premiere of the Canadian mini-series Book of Negroes on Monday.

The six-part drama is based on the award-winning novel of the same name (but changed to Someone Knows My Name in the U.S.) by Canadian novelist Lawrence Hill.

It centers on the historical document Book of Negroes through the story of Aminata Diallo (played by Shailyn Pierre-Dixon as young Aminata and Aunjanue Ellis as adult Aminata).

Shailyn Pierre-Dixon as young Aminata in CBC's 'Book of Negroes'

Shailyn Pierre-Dixon as young Aminata in CBC’s ‘Book of Negroes’

Abducted from her home in West Africa at 11 years old, Aminata is sold to a plantation in South Carolina but vows to return home.

During the American Revolutionary War, she is recruited to help with recording the Book of Negroes, a 150-page document of names and descriptions of 3,000 African-American slaves who escaped to the British lines during the war and were evacuated by the British to Nova Scotia as freedmen.

'Book of Negroes' (2015)

‘Book of Negroes’ (2015)

“Aminata must navigate a revolution in New York, isolation in Nova Scotia and treacherous jungles of Sierra Leone, in an attempt to secure her freedom in the 19th century.”

The series also follows a love story that develops between Aminata and a fellow West African named Chekura Tyano (Lyriq Bent), who are constantly being ripped apart and finding each other again.

Lyriq Bent as Chekura Tyano & Aunjanue Ellis as Aminata Diallo in CBC's 'Book of Negroes'

Lyriq Bent as Chekura Tyano & Aunjanue Ellis as Aminata Diallo in CBC’s ‘Book of Negroes’

Directed by Clement Virgo, the series also stars Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Samuel Fraunces, Louis Gossett, Jr. as Daddy Moses, Ben Chaplin as Cpt. John Clarkson, Allan Hawco as Solomon Lindo, and Jane Alexander as Maria Witherspoon.

The Book of Negroes is produced by Conquering Lion Pictures and Out of Africa Entertainment for CBC.

BET’s airing of the series will continue with two-hour slots on Tuesday, January 17 and Wednesday, January 18 at 8/7c.

*A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that Tim DeWayne was the director for Book of Negroes.