Black Jesus: Blasphemy Or Just Jokes?
Since leaving Riley and Huey in his past, “Boondocks” creator Aaron McGruder has been called to a higher power in the form of his new Adult Swim sitcom “Black Jesus”. Writer, Charing Ball recently wrote about her excitement to see the show and all of the controversy surrounding McGruder’s satire in her piece, This Is Why I’m Excited About Black Jesus.
The showed premiered this past Thursday and the reviews are in. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show topped all original cable offerings that night attracting just over 2 million viewers of adults age 18-49 at 11 pm.
The first episode, “Smokin’, Drinkin’ Chillin’” featured Jesus chilling with his homies in contemporary Compton engaging in typical “hood” activities. By the end of the episode the group starts a community garden full of fresh veggies and plenty of “herb”. Black Jesus also turns water into brandy and pays for things with “kindness, compassion and love for all mankind”—instead of money.
Of course the show has been met with plenty of criticism including those against the mocking of religious beliefs and the stereotypes that come with race and religion. Christian groups, including the American Family Association and the oft-offended subgroup One Million Moms, have pushed Adult Swim to pull the show.
But others like Philadelphia Pastor, Leslie D. Callahan, feel we have more important things to protest than cable shows, like the misogyny and sexism in Christianity itself. In her TIME article, she writes:
“By now, you have already figured out that I’m not inclined to get too irate over the mere possibility of blasphemy. In this way, I am unlike a few of my friends and colleagues who are up in arms and calling for a boycott of the series and perhaps of the Cartoon network. Now this is not because I am incapable of indignation. I’m just saving my ire for other things, such as, the carnage in Gaza, food insecurity in my city and every city, and even the nonsense folks preach in pulpits depicting Jesus as a money-hungry capitalist, which by the way is at least as blasphemous as portraying him as a cussing, smoking, homeless dude in the hood.”
Anyone who has ever tuned into a night of Adult Swim is familiar with the fact that no race, religion or lifestyle is spared if shows like Family Guy, The Cleveland Show and American Dad are any indication. A Twitter user comments:
“People boycotting #BlackJesus have obviously never watched a night of #AdultSwim – If it ain’t rufflin’ some feathers, it ain’t playin!”
But is blatant comedy about racial stereotypes a way to get honest conversations started or is Black Jesus just the beginning of a new era in cooning and minstrel shows?
I tend to agree with Callahan, Black Jesus may not be the most inoffensive move in entertainment, but we’ve got a lot more to worry about in the world right now than Adult Swim’s take on Christianity.
Did you tune into Black Jesus? Do you find it offensive?