Thursday, January 8, 2009

.::Aaron McGruder's Black Jesus...good lawd::.

I'm sayin'. Does it get any worse?! I was on the fence with The Boondocks. While the majority of the characters were essentially antagonists that perpetuated negative stereotypes of Black Americans, there was one strong protagonist in Huey's character. But in Black Jesus, the main character is essentially a walking stereotype guised in the likeness of a historical sacred figure. And not a protagonist to be found (note: just because the lead character is "interpreting" scripture, doesn't qualify him as a protagonist). Not sure I get the synopsis of the series anyway. It's apparent that the production turn around for a series like this is a lot quicker than an animated series like The Boondocks, but I wonder if it's necessarily cheaper.

In short, I'm a little tired of the vast majority of so-called Black entertainment. Most of it falls between the chasm of milquetoast and callous. I never thought Kat Williams had a good stand up act. Tyler Perry needs a new shtick. BET officially lost its swagger in the Viacom buy out, alienating a large portion of its former audience. And Janet Jackson should probably reinvent herself some time soon if she wants to have an ounce of relevancy at this point in the game. Maybe I'm being too harsh, but that's how I feel. I just think there's a whole range of motion and potent artistic expression we've yet to bring to mainstream culture. Still, I have hope.

But it ain't in Black Jesus. Aaron McGruder's approach seems to be a bit lazy here. There doesn't even seem to be any viable story lines. I guess lazy humor is the order of the day. But what exactly makes me more partial to The Boondocks versus Black Jesus? It's probably the fact that The Boondocks had a great subtext of social commentary, more parallel to Trey Parker & Matt Stone's approach to South Park. For example, The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show and The Huey Freeman Hunger Strike episodes were brilliant in my opinion. I'm sure the fact that The Boondocks is a cartoon and Black Jesus is a comedy with live characters factors into my partiality also. The ridicule seems uglier to me when acted out by real people versus animated characters.

When I hear the name Black Jesus, I think of funny yet insighful things in Black pop culture. Like the episode of Good Times when Michael Evans, much to James' dismay, wanted to hang a painting of black Jesus on the wall:

And Paul Mooney's 2007 stand up comedy DVD Know Your History: Jesus Was Black and So Was Cleopatra:

But with the type face of the opening credis to McGruder's latest series, it just makes me think of 1970s blaxploitation flicks. Speaking of, are there any parallels? Do you think I have any valid points, or am I just ranting? Chime in. In the meantime, you can watch other clips from Black Jesus at Aaron McGruder's Youtube page here.


Bochinche X said...

Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks comic strip seemed less offensive than the tv series. Maybe it was that in reading, the interpretation of what was been depicted took on a pro- whereas see-ing the tv series came across as con. Tend to selectively pretend/forget that Uncle Ruckus is even a part of the storyline.

Kat Williams,Tyler Perry, Ain't think too much of D.L. Hugley nor that Dave Chappell neither. BET went sour before that %#@! Bob Jones soUled-OUT TO Viacom.

Side Bar:
When NBC was up for sale in the '80s, Bill Cosby TRIED to buy it; NBC didn't want to sell to him so they pull it off the market. When that %#@! Bob Jones was soUled-OUT BET, he had the nerve to say not Black person had enough money to buy it. Did that %#@! Bob Jones have enough money to start BET in the '80s when it couldn't even broadcast 24/7 & had to share air-time with another station. Spike Lee is known for contacting all the Black players & getting them to invest; Micheal Jackson had enough money to creat his own world; Diana Ross & Lenny Kravitz had enough money to "buy" islands; Magic Johnson had enough money to take on numerous undertakings; Ms. Hughes had enough money to start TV One?

I do believe that on the episode of Good Times when Michael Evans hung J.J.'s painting of "Black Jesus," it was to Florida's dismay- James (& everyone else) began "worshipping" the image that they credited with giving them the "Good" life that had always passed them by when they were serving "Times" under the former (white) Jesus.

Is the picture suposed to be looking like Snoop?

Superbizzee said...

Yes, Florida was the one upset about the painting...even though she allowed it in the first place. She got frustrated when everybody started crediting the painting for the sudden streaks of good luck in the household.

The picture on Paul Mooney'd DVD is supposed to depict a black Jesus. Not sure about the Snoop thing.