||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (June 2013)|
|The Boondocks character|
Huey Freeman as he appears in the television series.
|First appearance||"The Garden Party"|
|Created by||Aaron McGruder|
|Voiced by||Regina King|
|Relatives||Riley Freeman (brother)
Robert Freeman (grandfather)
Cookie Freeman (great aunt) Jericho Freeman (fourth cousin)
Huey Freeman is the main protagonist in The Boondocks syndicated comic strip written by Aaron McGruder, as well as the animated TV series of the same name. Politically sapient and borderline militant, Huey, being a self-described revolutionary left-wing radical, regularly reflects upon current events as well as the plight of African Americans as it relates to a greater American society. Huey's character has often been described as "misanthropic," and "cynical," as often presented in his pessimistic personality. He is named after Huey P. Newton, one of the co-founders and leaders of the Black Panther Party. He is voiced by actress Regina King.
Huey, who grew up with his younger brother Riley (also voiced by King) on the south side of Chicago, was moved along with his brother to the peaceful, predominately white Baltimore-suburb of Woodcrest, Maryland by their grandfather Robert Jebediah Freeman. It strongly suggested that Huey and Riley's birth parents are deceased. This is, in part, based on Robert's dialogue from the first episode stating that he spent the boys' inheritance on their new house in Woodcrest.
Huey is a highly intelligent 12-year-old who recognizes and detests the absurdities and injustices (both obvious and perceived) of the society in which he lives. His cynicism, skepticism, and criticism often touches upon controversial subjects such as politics, religion, the media, businesses and corporations, African-American culture and American society as a whole.
Tending to be obstinate in both manner and speech, Huey has demonstrated a depth of understanding that would seem to surpass his young age, such as knowing roughly what is going to happen in the future based on the actions and personalities of the people involved. For example, in "The Fund-Raiser," Huey accurately predicts what will become of Riley's candy-selling racket, going so far as to give him a bulletproof vest that eventually saves his life. Oratorically gifted, Huey has shown the ability to seize and hold the attention of entire crowds of people when he wants to do so. He uses this gift during individual interactions as well, during which he can gain a desired effect depending on his intention. In "The Red Ball", he is also shown to understand and speak Mandarin.
It is also suggested that Huey is a practitioner of vegetarianism. This is evidenced in Season 1 episode "The Itis" where Huey refuses to eat the meals Granddad prepares for the family and the restaurant he manages for the duration of the episode, most notably Huey doesn't eat the broccoli that was prepared in the same pot as pork saying: "...vegetables cooked with pork, counts as pork."
Huey is depicted as owning a large collection of books and other reading materials, as he often reads the newspaper, watches the televised news and otherwise makes a point to keep up with current events. Huey seems to show some fondness for Star Wars, and quotes the series often. In "The Story of Gangstalicious Part 2" he states that he likes Elton John. On at least one occasion, he demonstrated an aptitude for writing in the form of script writing (he wrote a play entitled The Adventures of Black Jesus in "A Huey Freeman Christmas"). He has also written poignant letters and emails to public figures imploring them to support various political causes. He has started petitions, made and handed out flyers, and created and edited his own newspaper titled The Free Huey World Report. He uses such media to express his own opinions and ideas, though their impact is generally limited given their critical nature and his minimal resources.
Shown to be a skilled martial artist, Huey often demonstrates on various occasions an ability with nunchaku, katana, Gun (staff), as well as hand to hand combat that far surpasses the expected capabilities of a ten-year-old. Though he has won several fights against Riley, a pair of theater guards, Stinkmeaner on one occasion (though with the help of his grand father and brother), Ming on another occasion, and his former friend Cairo on another occasion, he has been defeated several times (Stinkmeaner, Luna, Stinkmeaner's crew, and Uncle Ruckus) His fight with Bushido Brown ended in a draw (Bushido Brown left the fight to protect his ward Oprah Winfrey), Luna was a Kumite fighter and a White Lotus expert, and Stinkmeaner was at the time, a supernatural presence. And though Uncle Ruckus beat Huey the first time it is not shown who won the rematch; the beginning of the fight was the end of the episode. He also fought a few of Winston Jerome's men. Huey regularly beats Riley with ease in their fights despite the fact Riley often uses objects such as frying pans, or golf clubs in their fights showing Huey is very disciplined and skilled against armed opponents.
In the Season 1 episode "The Real," Huey has several encounters with an undercover government spy in which he dubs as "The White Shadow." At the end of the episode he is left uncertain whether these encounters were real. The man reappears in the Season 3 finale "It's Goin' Down" to warn Huey that government agents actually are on their way to Woodcrest to apprehend him, forcing him into a desperate attempt to flee the city.
Huey does not consider himself to be religious and has mentioned so several times in the comics. Nevertheless, he very passionately insists that Jesus Christ was black and US president Ronald Reagan is the Devil. As of the third season of the series, the only support he has explicitly given to this theory is that many individuals of African descent lived in the Middle East during the time of Christ.
Huey is shown to admire several historical figures. In "The Return of the King" he is the only person who still respects Martin Luther King, Jr. after King awakens from a 32-year coma and is misconstrued by the public as a terrorist. As mentioned before, Huey is named after Huey P. Newton, the co-founder of the Black Panthers. During "The Story of Gangstalicious Part 2" Huey states that Muhammed Ali is a hero of his. He also has many posters of Che Guevara, Malcolm X, MLK, and Hugo Chavez. Three figures he has quoted before are Langston Hughes, Karl Marx, and Khalil Gibran.
While Huey is always portrayed as being a left-wing radical, his specific political ideologies are never actually portrayed in detail. On several occasions, such as "The Block is Hot," he has demonstrated a following of revolutionary socialism. This is also backed up because Huey has posters of revolutionary socialists in his room. A belief in anarchism is also plausible, as several of his statements have paid respect to it. In "Or Die Trying..." he teaches a theater ticket taker about anarcho-syndicalism and Marxism. However, a moderate belief in Black nationalism is common, since a desire for a greater unity between the black people of America is a recurring theme. Huey has also quoted Karl Marx, suggesting an understanding of communism. In "The Real" Huey claims to be the founder of 23 radical leftist organizations, including the Black Revolutionary Organization or B.R.O., Africans Fighting Racism and Oppression or A.F.R.O.,and the Black Revolutionary Underground Heroes, or B.R.U.H. In terms of public opinion, the national media within the Boondocks' universe often mistakenly (or rather, satirically) mislabels Huey as a "domestic terrorist" throughout various newscasts seen during the third season.
The only deep insight in Huey's spiritual beliefs is when he believed an innocent man on death row whose release Huey had worked for was about to be executed ("The Passion of Reverend Ruckus"). Alone in a field, Huey dropped to his knees and sobbed as he offered up prayers to God; almost simultaneously, a bizarre chain of events led to the man's sentence being postponed or commuted by the governor. Upon learning of this, Huey says:
"Maybe there are forces in the universe we don't understand. But I still believe we make our own miracles".
Being both disillusioned as well as possessing an extremely pessimistic view of the world, Huey is rarely seen smiling in the episodes. He is either in a neutral expression or is seen frowning or shrugging. In season one, Huey was seen smiling when he defeats his brother Riley and in "The Passion of Reverend Ruckus" when he asks Jazmine to come with him to prison (though the smile is quickly replaced with anger toward Jazmine) and twice in "The Block is Hot" when he set up his soap box and when he watched Jazmine speak with Ed Wuncler Sr. In season two, he is seen smiling three times. Once was in episode "Home Alone" when Granddad returns home after his trip to Costa Rica. The second and third is in episode "Ballin'" when Riley finally insults the opposing team's star player enough to make her cry. After scoring multiple baskets, Huey is seen smiling at his brother along with Granddad. He is also seen smiling during the timeout that Tom called to congratulate the team on their playing. Other than four instances, Huey has never been caught smiling. This isn't to say that Huey lacks a softer side, as he will take steps to help and protect those he considers friends or family (ex. Tom, Jazmine, Riley, etc.).
Huey is shown to disagree with the popular beliefs of Christmas. As Christmas has roots in a Pagan holiday, he has suggested Jesus Christ probably hates people for celebrating it. He frequently displays agnostic leanings. In the comic strip, he claims that Santa Claus is an Illuminati agent working toward The New World Order.
Riley is Huey's younger brother, and regularly represents everything Huey loathes and generally disapproves of. Huey is politically minded and critical while Riley remains uninterested, showing great affection for many things including gangsta rap, violence, and "bling," that Huey finds to be culturally poisonous. Despite their constant fighting and his disagreement with Riley's beliefs, Huey cares very much for his brother as he usually tries to steer him in the right direction, acts which Riley initially ignores, but results in Riley facing the consequences of his actions later on. They also get into furious battles which Huey always wins, as his disciplined use of martial arts beats Riley's unskilled street fighting style.
Robert Jebediah Freeman
Robert Freeman is the paternal grandfather and legal guardian of Huey and Riley Freeman, who often disagrees with many of Huey's political ideas. While in the comic strip, Huey and his grandfather have a much more affable relationship, in the series, they are almost constantly at odds, in part due to his constant favoritism shown to Riley, who supports his grandfather's various crazy schemes. Huey seems to offer Granddad advice in certain situations, such as during "Granddad's Fight", "The S-Word", and "The Story of Thugnificent," attempts that almost always fall flat.
Although Jazmine DuBois and Huey spend a great deal of their time together, Huey often treats Jazmine poorly due to his disdain for her trusting personality and apolitical views. In the TV series, the two appear to be a lot closer (in fact, she is the only child he is shown to be interacting with outside of Riley), as with Huey confiding in her about his desire to meet up with former best friend Cairo during a planned trip to Chicago ("Wingmen") and Huey allowing her to help him in his plan to free an unjustly imprisoned inmate scheduled to be executed out of prison ("The Passion of Reverend Ruckus"), essentially trusting her as an accomplice. Although Huey initially appears to be derisive of her beliefs, his opinion of her improves, and by the end of season 3, she is most likely one of his few friends. In the nation-wide pandemic during "The Fried Chicken Flu," she is the fourth only other person he allows to stay at his home (in addition to Granddad and Riley). Huey has also shown a proclivity to empathize with her at times, showing visible concern for her during episodes such as "The Block Is Hot," when he campaigns for her release from her quasi-child-labor contract and gives her his scarf at the end of the episode when she is cold. For her part, Jazmine appears to appreciate Huey's characteristics, claiming that he is "not like everyone else" ("Fried Chicken Flu"). She is also one of the second person who appear to actually listen to Huey, and was the second one that read the manual he provided during the fried chicken epidemic.
Tom DuBois, Jazmine's father, represents almost everything Huey is primarily against. Tom, being a straight-laced liberal Democratic assistant district attorney, is part of the structure that Huey views as inhibitive and self-destructive. He also dislikes Tom because he encourages his daughter to conform to a more European look rather than emphasizing the beauty of her African features, as shown when Tom mentions that he's tried everything to make Jazmine's hair more straight. Despite Huey's disagreements with Tom, the two are shown generally to be on good terms as he often acknowledges Huey's intellect and maturity to the extent that he will often turn to Huey for advice on subjects ranging from help with his marriage, politics, and his career as a prosecutor (with Huey supporting Tom's prosecution of R. Kelly for statutory rape). When he is put in holding for false accusations of murder and finds out that he will be sent to real "butt pounding" jail for the weekend, Tom uses his one phone call to beg Huey to catch the real killer before that day's end.
Ed Wuncler, Sr.
Ed Wuncler serves as a villainous foil for Huey, as Ed Wuncler, Sr., represents indeed everything Huey is against. In spite of this, Wuncler retains a friendly relationship with the Freeman family, despite Huey seeing through his friendly facade as far as the true person Wuncler is inside. Interestingly, Huey considers Wuncler's biases to stem from his greed and influence rather than actual racism.
Ed Wuncler III and Gin Rummy
Huey distrusts Ed and Gin, having seen the two young men perform many criminal and immoral actions and does not hesitate to point out the obvious stupidity behind their careless conduct. He also does not care for the way that they help contribute to Riley's delinquent attitude, leading him to often warn his brother to stay away from them.
Huey is the only recurring character to consistently show anger towards Uncle Ruckus, as others are usually confused by his beliefs and non-sequitur statements. Ruckus often views himself as a white man and often aspires to be white. This is due to the claim by his mother, stating that he was adopted by herself and Ruckus' father, Mr. Ruckus. In a later episode of the third season, we meet his mother, father, and two brothers; while his mother continues to strongly insist that he is adopted, his father says otherwise. Mr. Ruckus tells Uncle that he is truly black, and that his mother loves white folks so much, she told Uncle he was adopted so that he could live being happy. In the third season's premiere, neither Huey nor Uncle Ruckus vote for Barack Obama to be elected President, but for different reasons: Ruckus's reason is that Obama is black and he wants McCain to win. Huey, on the other hand, aside from the fact he is not old enough to vote, does not like either one; though he voices little actual opinion during the episode, but it is apparent that he thinks that Obama being President isn't going to change anything as many people presume. Huey and Ruckus both plan on leaving the country in a plan called "Operation Exodus." Huey claims that while he and Ruckus are by no means allies, the association is convenient - Ruckus has a car, and Huey has gas money. Their association is only meant to extend to the Canadian border, at which point they will go their separate ways. The plan fails, however, when agents arrest Uncle Ruckus for threatening Obama. Huey, now unable to get a ride since Ruckus is in lockup, is forced to cancel Operation Exodus.
During the comic strip's run, Michael Caesar (known by his surname) was Huey's best friend and classmate. Like Huey, Caesar is very much self-aware of current events and experienced culture shock after leaving a big city like New York, and moving to the predominately white suburb of Woodcrest. Caesar shares many of Huey's political views but lacks his serious demeanor, preferring instead to engage in critical mockery rather than extreme activism. He has yet to appear in the animated TV series.
In the 2006 Glyph Comics Awards, Huey Freeman was named Best Male Character.
- Younge, Gary (December 22, 2005). "Strip Tease". Guardian (London). Retrieved July 18, 2010.
- McGruder, Aron (4 May 1999). "The Boondocks - May 04, 1999 strip". Retrieved 19 April 2013.
- "The Boondocks: Huey's Back". IGN. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
- "The Boondocks: Exclusive Character Profile - Uncle Ruckus". IGN. Retrieved 2010-08-09.