‘The Boondocks’ Predicted the 2020 Revolution…Back in 2006.
The Boondocks is one of the most revolutionary shows of my generation. It first aired in November 2005 and ran through June 2014. The show’s creator Aaron McGruder addressed race issues head-on and perhaps like no other show before it. The adventures of domestic terrorist Huey Freeman, his brother Riley, and Grandpa led to some of the most memorable moments in TV history, for those paying attention.
I recently was watching some episodes on the new HBO Max app for inspiration after getting home from a protest in Providence, RI. And as a break from being glued to cable news for two-plus weeks. To my surprise, I watched a Season 1 episode and noticed something I had overlooked before. The date on the newspaper in the closing scene:
I immediately set out to capture the other similarities to current events in this episode.
Return of the King – Season 1, Episode 9 (2006)
The ninth episode of Season 1 of The Boondocks takes place in an alternate history America, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was not assassinated, but instead was shot and went into a coma for over 30 years. He wakes up and becomes a celebrity, but then is viewed as a pariah for his peaceful response to the 9/11 attacks. After some reflection and depression, he gives a shocking speech to the black community which leads to a great awakening, and ultimately a revolution. This episode first aired on January 5, 2006.
So you ask, what similarities are you referring to?
1. The Catalyst
While the MLK speech in this episode is in no way connected to the police murder of George Floyd, the collective consciousness response of anger is the same. Revolutions start with outrage. This isn’t a prediction, but what The Boondocks got correct from a historic perspective. Change requires a moment that focuses the majority of the people to collectively respond with emotion. “People got angry” as Huey Freeman says. The speech was the spark, much like the tragic murder of George Floyd was the catalyst for so many in this country to open their eyes.
2. White House Protests
It seems obvious and predictable that protests against systemic racism in America would line up outside the White House. However, I found the symmetry of these images particularly striking. Keep in mind The Boondocks episode Return of the King was from 2006.
3. Gassing of American Citizens
It was probably a little less predictable that the Dictator in Chief would gas peaceful protetors outside of the White House, but The Boondocks writer Aaron McGruder believed that this would be on the table during the revolution. He was correct…
4. NBA Protests
In the 2006 episode, in response to the worldwide protests NBA players refuse to play until troops are pulled from Afghanistan. A foreign war is not the issue of today, but there were talks among NBA players, including Kyrie Irving, to not return in order to focus on social unrest and racial justice.
Update by The Mean (Aug. 27, 2020): On August 26, 2020 NBA players from the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court in their playoff game versus the Orlando Magic. The protest was in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin and the murder of protesters by a 17 year-old right-wing extremist. This peaceful protest sparked a league-wide strike with all NBA teams refusing to play. It is uncertain what will be next, but this beautiful sign of solidarity has already spread to MLB and WNBA.
“If not now, when?”Chris Webber
5. The Date
The episode culminates in Huey Freeman’s “dream” of a revolution and Oprah Winfrey winning the presidency in November 2020. It doesn’t seem like Oprah will be running. Nevertheless, the presience of the date is striking.
There you have it. Not convinced? I would recommend you watch The Boondocks anyway if you’re struggling to understand this moment in history. Love to you all.
– The Mean
Keep it Loud
Thanks as always for reading. If you enjoyed this check out some other gems we dropped this week for Wu Tang Wednesday and regarding protestor safety (from the DEA). Follow us on all social media platforms – @loudnewsnet. ✌️