i am

My photo
harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Friday, November 25, 2005

'The Boondocks' On Cable TV: Is it too grown up for kids?

A few weeks ago, I watched the cable television debut of Aaron McGruder's popular cartoon series "The Boondocks." I've come to love the antics of pro-Black, hip hop youngsters Huey & Riley Freeman, whose old-school Grandad has moved to the suburbs, to both retire & raise them - on his terms. In fact, I have the series on my computer screen & begin each day w/ another episode.

I was concerned about the transition from cartoon to cable, but McGruder has a capable team working on his behalf, including Reginald Hudlin, who serves as Executive Producer. The beautiful, hard-working, smart & talented actress Regina King is the unlikely voice of Huey & Riley. Some folks might recognize actor & comedian John Witherspoon as the voice of Grandad. McGruder said the first season will primarily feature these three characters, as others will be introduced slowly over a period of time.

One of the things which struck me while watching the show was the raucous language. The debut used the 'n' word an inordinate amount. Webster's Dictionary decided to take the word out of the dictionary, due to pressure from community-based & civil rights groups who've voiced their rage towards the word's historical degradation of Black people. I was alarmed to hear the kids using the word, though not necessarily offended.

What I particularly appreciate about McGruder, however, is his willingness to challenge pop culture & other socio-economic issues from a cultural context, which serves to educate, inform & affirm the Black community. Huey, Riley & Grandad have been critical of the Bush administration, including Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice & Dick Cheney. They've also taken on the likes of Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Kobe Bryant & Michael Jackson. The show basically leaves no stones unturned.

The Cartoon Network has a new (at least to me) level of programming, known as 'Adult Swim,' which features a variety of cartoons offering viewers ethnic diversity in a historically lily-white field. I've yet to view any other of their shows - I'm just not interested in cartoons or sci-fi shows. I'm 45 years old, you know? In speaking to others, I find their level of intrigue varies from wonder to why.

Lately, the cartoon strip has focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the 'Bird Flu' & 50 Cent's new semi-autobio film, "Get Rich or Die Tryin." I love the irreverence of Huey & Riley, as well as their Grandad's seemingly oblivion to how these conflicting forces compete for our attention, money & soul. I get a chuckle every day. My intentions are to support "The Boondocks" each week. Its clear McGruder is a man of integrity who loves Black people enough to speak truth to power. I hope his audience will write the station to let them know how we feel about the show: good, bad or indifferent.

1 comment:

AALBC.com said...

Admittedly I find McGruder's strip the funniest I've read. I put him up there with Schultz.

At the same time, I believe people make the mistake of elavating McGruder to a level he does not warrant.

Basically, McGruder makes his money doing the very same thing he blasts others, like Bob Johnson, for doing. And defintely don't recall hearing the "N" word uttered on BET with the same frequency...

Nice to meet you at Casa Frela and interesting blog!