"D- Ridin' Obama:" Boondocks Creator Aaron McGruder Throws a Bomb
"Boondocks" creator Aaron McGruder, whose pointed satires of BET were banned from TV stations in 2008 is at it again. Season 3 clips of "Boondocks" are being released, depicting fictional and real rappers Thugnificent and Will I Am singing "D* Riding Obama" are making the rounds, and causing a stir. What the Boondocks satire says, and how the black elite and the black community receives it tell a lot about us.
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
To see the video:
In his time and place, West Africa of the 1970s and 80s, Fela Anikulapo Kuti was a dangerous man. There were plenty of other dissenting and dissatisfied people, tens of millions of them. But only Fela could denounce and mock and deride the military governments and their corporate masters, and have tens of millions of people dancing to it. That's the power of satire and timely political art.
Boondocks creator Aarom McGruder is no Fela, not yet anyway, but his past work and pre-season released clips of real and fictional rappers Will I Am and Thugnificent singing "D* Riding Obama" point him firmly in that direction. In Boondocks' season 2, back in 2008 McGruder showed a willingness to denounce and viciously skewer BET with two episodes that Cartoon Network refused to air. The banned episides were leaked and thanks to the web, went instantly viral.
D* riding, for those who may not know, is metaphorical and current urban slang for the old fashioned sycophancy, something that was already old when the pharaohs were young, the lavishing of undue and excessive praise and flattery upon someone perceived to be in a position of power at the moment. To keep this article G-rated, I won't explain the metaphor itself, somebody else can do that. But McGruder, who is very much in control of which parts of his work are released pre-season, is asking Black America an important question. Is Black America getting any use out of this First Black President thing? Or are we being pimped?
In some quarters, anything short of loud praise of the president is unopular. Tavis Smiley was literally hounded off the air for raising the most mild questions about the president's --- at that time the presidential candidate's --- allegiance to the African American community. And many commentators, pundits and quite ordinary people hasten to point to the racist Tea Partyers as reasons to stifle any and all criticism of the Obama presidency, lest we give his racist opponents heart. We're glad to see that McGruder is keeping it authentic.
Black America still exists, and so does the black internal conversation, despite the stranglehold of corporate media which generally limits that conversation to its own marketing needs. McGruder has been able, for the time being, to break through that barrier and tell some truths to a wide audience for a little while. Word is that Boondocks Season 3 will be its last. We have to wonder whether any of this year's episodes will be banned, as were the BET pieces in 2008. For that, and to find out whether Aaron McGruder ever does manage to be as dangerous to the powers that be as Fela in his own time and place, we'll just have to wait and see