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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Boondocks and Jayson Blair

Found this item over at Bookslut who quotes from a New York Times interview with Aaron McGruder, creator of the controversial syndicated "The Boondocks" comic strip. For those unfamiliar with the strip, the main character is a 10-year-old black militant named Huey Freeman who with his smart-mouthed baby brother, Riley, lives with their stern elderly grandfather. Known for it's irreverant and often candid look at major issues, "The Boondocks" is scathingly unrepentant in targeting cultural and political figureheads, including Bush (actually, especially Bush). Just think of the verve that "All in the Family" once had, transpose the race and age of the protagonist, then transfer it to the comic pages.

Now the strip is being translated to primetime television in an anime series and will feature the voices of Regina King (Jerry McGuire) as both Huey and Riley and John Witherspoon (Boomerang - "Just cooorr-di-nate") as Granddad. (Alicia Keys was originally slated to be Huey but backed out due to scheduling conflicts.)

What is interesting to discover in the interview is that the one who first gave McGruder and his strip its first break is none other than Jayson Blair - yes, the same Blair who once worked for the New York Times and who bamboozled his editors with fake stories. Anyway, Blair, while editor of The Diamondback, the University of Maryland's college paper, said yes to putting "The Boondocks" in print, giving the strip its start.

So, what does McGruder have to say about the duplicitous (and probably mentally unhinged) former New York Times writer who gave him his break? Well, let's just say that Mr. Blair wasn't considered off limits by the grateful McGruder and was even lampooned in the comic strip. Says McGruder (shaking his head): "You can actually look at Jayson Blair and say, 'Wow, you set black people back. A lot of people are accused of that, but he actually did it."

Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 11/01/2005 09:56:00 AM Permanent Link     | | Home


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