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‘Black Jesus’ is going to live in Compton

This photo supplied by the Cartoon Network shows characters of the Cartoon Networks cable series, "The Boondocks." The Rev. Al Sharpton has asked for an apology from the network for an episode of edgy animated series that showed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. saying the n-word. (AP Photo/Cartoon Network) Huey, Riley, and Robert “Grandad” Freeman of “The Boondocks.”  (AP Photo/Cartoon Network)

Adult Swim has greenlit a new live-action show from “Boondocks” creator Aaron McGruder called “Black Jesus.”

Here’s hoping we’re not waiting for two years before it airs.

In McGruder’s new project, Jesus, played by newcomer Gerald “Slink” Johnson, is living in modern-day Compton, Calif. Fans of the animated series are sure to welcome the return of “Boondocks” alum Charlie Murphy, of the unforgettably funny “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” “Chappelle’s Show” sketches. “Boondocks” alum John Witherspoon and Corey Holcomb have also signed on.

However, McGruder fans have learned to temper their expectations; he let two years pass between the release of seasons one and two of “The Boondocks.”

McGruder was a darling among liberals for his wry repudiation of the Bush administration — he once called Condoleezza Rice a “mass murderer” to her face — but he was also unpredictable and unbeholden to anyone. Even people who admired his work.

The New Yorker profiled McGruder in 2004, when “The Boondocks” was still a syndicated comic strip.

As a talented young black man who is outspoken in his political convictions, McGruder has grown accustomed to inordinately high expectations. The Green Party called him last year, asking if he might like to run for President. He had to point out that he wasn’t old enough. “I want to do stuff that has a moral center—stuff that I can be proud of,” he continued. “But I’m not trying to be that guy, the political voice of young black America, because then you have to sort of be a responsible grownup, for lack of a better word. And it’s like—you know, Flip Wilson said this, he said, ‘I reserve the right to be a nigger.’ And I absolutely do, at all times.”

Most recently, McGruder came under fire for his tepid response to President Obama’s election.

Adult Swim representatives say “Black Jesus” will premiere later this year.

Soraya Nadia McDonald covers arts, entertainment and culture for the Washington Post with a focus on issues surrounding race, gender and sexuality.



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Fred Barbash and Soraya Nadia McDonald · March 11, 2014

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