The Boondocks! What You Never Knew about Aaron McGruder

aaron mcgruder boondocksBy Yolanda Spivey

Aaron McGruder is famously known as the creator “The Boondocks.”   Born on May 29, 1974 in Chicago, Illinois, Aaron first published “The Boondocks” in his campus newspaper, The Diamondback, in 1997 while studying at the University of Maryland.  After graduating with his degree in African American Studies, he went on  to debut  the comic strip at The Universal Press Syndicate.  The comic strip was an instant hit and was featured in over 200 newspapers.  After leaving the newspaper industry, he put his comic strip in motion on Adult Swim which went on to shock the nation with its political and social satire.

Here are five other interesting facts about Aaron McGruder that might interest you:

He Had Beef With BET– Aaron had public fights with BET over the years and because of this, he developed a few episodes of “The Boondocks” that made fun of the network. The episodes in question supposedly showed BET executives in a negative way.  For instance, BET’s chairman and chief executive Debra L. Lee had a character Debra Leevil named after her.  And president Reginald Hudlin had a character named Wedgie Rudlin named after him.  Aaron stated in interviews that he went after BET because the “network executives failed to elevate the network’s standards.”

He Had Beef With AL Sharpton– Al Sharpton was outraged over an episode that showcased slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King coming out of a coma and joining modern day society.  The episode aired on Martin Luther King Day and depicted him using the N-word which angered Sharpton. Al Sharpton demanded that the Cartoon Network and Aaron McGruder apologize and pull the episode.

More Controversy– Aaron has made some very controversial comments in the past.  For instance, he publically stated that former president George W. Bush “is somehow involved either directly or indirectly, in the attacks on New York City on September 11.”  He also stated publically that President Barack Obama was not Black but since then released a statement insisting that his comments were taken out of context.  And during the 2002 NAACP Image Awards, he called Condoleezza Rice a mass-murderer to her face.

He Went Where?- In 2002, Aaron went to Cuba with Congresswoman Barbara Lee.  In response to his trip, he said, “I went to Havana, and I was like ‘Wow! There’s culture everywhere! I don’t think the American government has a lot of respect for culture. One thing I did notice when I went to Cuba was that artists are paid to be artists, poets are paid to be poets, and musicians are paid to be musicians by the government. The government – and I’m not saying the Cuban government’s perfect – but the government does place a value on culture. Much more so than here, where culture is just a matter of commerce.”

He Is More Than His Animated Series– Aaron worked on the George Lucas film “Red Tails” as a screenwriter.  In addition, he is the author of five Boondocks books.  He also co-authored a book with his nemesis Reginald Hudlin called Birth of a Nation: A Comic Novel.  He is now creating a movie off of his Boondocks character Uncle Ruckus.  In his spare time, he publically speaks on political and cultural issues.



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  9. People want to claim that ‘he’s just telling the truth’ or ‘he’s just being honest’ but we’ve seemed to have forgotten the difference between truth and opinion. There was no ‘truth’ in the episode about Martin Luther King. Mainly because Dr. King died on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, so he was not in a coma. Also, the way Dr. King was depicted was not at all in character of the civil rights leader. To give the impression that the only problems Dr. King would have today would be with black people is not only irresponsible, but it’s a lie. McGruder didn’t do his homework. Dr. King opposed war and poverty that still exist today. The same problems that existed in the 60’s still exist today yet Dr. King never threw black people under the bus the way McGruder depicted. Dr. King had the courage to fight the powerful, not the powerless. Had his beef been with black people he would (likely) still be alive today. That episode was just McGruder giving his narrow-minded, uninformed opinions. And to suggest that Debra Lee is evil just because he doesn’t like BET programming is a huge stretch. What’s “the truth” in that? It’s kinda scary how we can exalt an opinionated cartoonist to number one truthteller of our times yet his opinions are never rooted in truth. McGruder is an artist and an entertainer…that’s it.

  10. I am proud of his accomplishments as a young man but the boondocks is nothing for anyone to be proud of. It is shocking and whether he states some truth at times his work has become a terrible example of talent.

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