Back in 2008 when history was being made, I, as well as some others, wondered what would Aaron McGruder, the creator of The Boondocks, would have to say through the eyes of his cartoon characters about the “Great Black Hope” named Barack Obama. Well, it is now 2010 and we finally got our answer in the premiere episode of the controversial animated series’ third season, and that answer is sure to cause ripples within the black community.
For those of you who are not aware of the show, The Boondocks takes a satirical, sometimes scathing, look into the black community as well as America as a whole. The show has shown a mirror on the black community by focusing its critical eye on BET, civil rights leaders past and present, and R. Kelly to display the stereotypes that haunt the general black population (and how they are harmful in every shape, way, or form) through laughter.
Now a friend of mine and myself agreed that The Boondocks is a sort of paradox that can spill “the truth,” which can be hurtful, yet right on the money. But said “truth” can either go over the head of most fans of the show, or it can be ‘interpreted’ the wrong way, which becomes the basis for some serious, thoughtful debate. Last night’s “It’s A Black President, Huey Freeman” is a dead on example of such a scenario.
The plot featured a German filmmaker documenting the 2008 Presidential Election and the black communities response to the historic event. The filmmaker eventually follows The Freeman Family (which consists of brothers Huey and Riley and their grandfather, Robert “Grandad” Freeman) and their neighbors as they gave their two cents on the possibility of the first black president being voted into office. The filmmaker then fixates himself on Huey, who is seemingly the only black person who is not affected by the Obama bandwagon. Huey’s response to possibly having the first black president? “Eh.”
Then hilarity really ensues.
The filmmaker also follows a rapper named Thugnificent, a character who is a parody of overtly virile rappers, who quickly jumps on the Obama rally to make himself more profitable, but instead makes himself look even dumber than he was before joining will.i.am (an entertainer who was very vocal during the election) in doing a duet titled, “D*ck Riding Obama.” The song and video became one of the top trending topics on Twitter during the writing of this review. In fact, the episode dominated the trending topics on the social website, which also gave word that will.i.am is NOT amused by his portrayal in the episode. See? The ripple effect is most definitely at hand.
The episode ended with some of the pro Obama characters being upset that things didn’t live up to the way they thought it would when Obama became President Obama and, in effect, turned anti-Obama. Huey also claimed to have gone in “retirement” in terms of being a “domestic terrorist”. Funny stuff, right?
The Boondocks, no matter how funny, ‘wrong’, or over the top it can be, has always had a message in the core of each episode. The message last night dealt with the blind faith that most people (all races, creeds and genders) felt the black community were engaged in while voting for Barack Obama. In other words, some black people voted for Barack Obama because he was… well, black, and not for his politics. The episode also touched on the media circus that pervaded throughout the campaign, which brought out people who never associated themselves with politics a day in their life. So, McGruder and camp gave their answer and they gave it loud, but this is where the paradox kicks in.
Remember, last night’s episode was trending pretty tough on Twitter, but people were/are giving McGruder props for delivering “the Truth” and calling out the alleged ‘ignorance’ that dominated the black community during the election when it came to their lack of knowledge of Barack Obama and his politics. But this is one of those cases when I think that the episode’s message both went over people’s heads AND people took it the wrong way, because not one person has owned up to what McGruder pointed out last night. Everybody took a ride on the Obama train in every, shape, way or form. How is that? Well, for one, the fact that some black people lacked knowledge behind what Barack Obama stood for and his policies didn’t stop anyone from registering the uninformed to vote nor did it give them incentive to help educate anyone on said lacked knowledge. You see, those people that were doing all that assisting in registering and rallying to get people to vote? They are some of the same ones who are happily singing “D*ck Riding Obama” and calling McGruder a genius. Did we learn our lesson from last night’s episode? In my opinion, not quite, and therein lies the paradox.
The bottom line is that The Boondocks is back and coming at us hard, especially with it being the last season of the contentious series. The video for “D*ck Riding Obama” will be a YouTube sensation for weeks to come. Hell, folks are even asking to have the song as a ringtone, it is that popular. The animation has had a slight face lift, as well as the opening theme song, but the same acerbic witty storytelling is still thankfully in place. The “Truth” is back in top form, but the questions to ask now are 1)Will we be able to take it? and 2) Will we be able to take it and do something with it?
Now, THAT is some “Truth” to chew on…
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