Did you hear the one about the episodes of Aaron McGruder’s “Boondocks” that ripped up BET heads Debra L. Lee and Reginald Hudlin and subsquently got ditched from Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim? That’s been running around the web for a while now, but I just recently stumbled across the videos online today on Liz Burr’s blog.
While I quasi fell in black nerd love with McGruder when “Boondocks,” the cartoon strip, first debuted, I’ve been reluctant to watch much of the Cartoon Network reincarnation. While I was able to laugh and cringe my way through “Chappelle Show,” on Boondocks I mostly just cringe. It was bad enough when the strip became less character driven as McGruder grew weary under grueling newspaper deadlines, but this show just pushes so far to be provocative that what good there is of it is negated in the fact that the message gets lost in a flurry of expletives, n-bombs and risque sexual humor. I’m not saying that black people can’t make edgy, provocative art. We have a tradition of such but there is a point where your message becomes so subversive that it pretty much ceases to exist.
Much like how BET was originally created to be all things to black people — to both entertain and inform — “Boondocks” used to be about humor and political insight. I’m not saying that “Boondocks” and BET are on parallel planes. For one, BET is viewed in far more households and has next-to-nil substance. But I could see how someone not attuned to racial politics wouldn’t see a difference. Nudity without context is pornography. “Boondocks” starting to suffer from a severe obscuring of context.
That said, here are the “banned” episodes below.