Aaron McGruder

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Aaron McGruder
Aaron McGruder.png
Aaron McGruder, at the 2002 Hackers on Planet Earth hacker con
Born (1974-05-29) May 29, 1974 (age 42)
Chicago, Illinois, US
Occupation Writer, cartoonist, public speaker
Genre Comic strips, television screenwriter
Notable works The Boondocks

Aaron Vincent McGruder[1] (born May 29, 1974)[2] is an American writer, lecturer,[3] producer, screenwriter and cartoonist best known for writing and drawing The Boondocks, a Universal Press Syndicate comic strip[4][5] and its animated TV series adaptation The Boondocks for which he was the creator, executive producer, and head writer.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Aaron McGruder was born in Chicago, Illinois.[2] When Aaron was six years old, his family moved to Columbia, Maryland, after his father accepted a job with the National Transportation Safety Board. McGruder has an older brother.

MacGruder attended a Jesuit school from grades seven to nine, followed by public high school at Oakland Mills High School and the University of Maryland, from which he graduated with a degree in African American Studies.


The Boondocks and related work[edit]

The Boondocks began as a comic strip on Hitlist.com, one of the first online music websites.[7] At the time, he was also a DJ on The Soul Controllers Mix Show on WMUC.

The comic strip's main characters are two young African-American brothers, Huey (named after Huey P. Newton) and his younger brother and wannabe gangsta, Riley,[4] from inner-city Chicago who are relocated to live with their grandfather in a sedate suburb. In six months, the comic strip was being distributed to more than 200 publications.[5] Five The Boondocks collections have been published: All The Rage, Public Enemy #2, A Right To Be Hostile, Fresh for '01: You Suckaz, and Boondocks: Because I Know You Don't Read The Newspaper. An animated television series adaptation of the strip proved successful on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.

McGruder expressed interest in 2013 about filming a movie featuring The Boondocks TV series supporting character Uncle Ruckus. Gary Anthony Williams would reprise his role. McGruder set a goal of $200,000 for startup donations at uncleruckusmovie.com between January 30 through March 1, 2013, but the campaign ended with 2,667 backers and $129,963.[8]

In March 2014, The Boondocks was revived for a new season, but without McGruder's involvement as its showrunner.[9] The first episode of this final season was first broadcast on April 21, 2014.[10]

Other work[edit]

Among his other projects have been the Super Deluxe variety comedy series The Super Rumble Mix Show. McGruder also developed Black Jesus, another comedy series broadcast on Adult Swim, part of Cartoon Network.[9]

With Reginald Hudlin, McGruder co-authored a graphic novel, Birth of a Nation: A Comic Novel (2004), about African Americans in East St. Louis during an election.[1] The book's illustrations were drawn by cartoonist Kyle Baker.

McGruder has developed into a public speaker on political and cultural issues.[5][11][12][3]

In 2010, McGruder worked as screenwriter in the final treatment of the feature film Red Tails, released in early 2012. Its story is based on the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African American combat pilots during World War II.[13]


McGruder's strip was a veritable lightning rod for criticism since it debuted in 1999, with newspapers consigning it to editorial sections, or suspending the run of the strip altogether. Favored targets of The Boondocks include BET, Condoleezza Rice, Whitney Houston, Bill Cosby, Vivica A. Fox, and black conservative commentator Larry Elder.

McGruder has often attacked black conservative commentator Larry Elder in the comic strip as well as the television series. In response, Elder published an opinion piece in which he created the "McGruder," an award for statements made by black public figures that Elder considers "dumb," "vulgar," and/or "offensive."[14]

McGruder said in a 2002 keynote address[11] at the July 12–14, 2002 H2K2 conference that he believed that President George W. Bush was involved with the September 11 attacks:

He visited Cuba, meeting Fidel Castro[3] with California Rep. Barbara Lee.[16] Later, during a 2003 reception hosted by The Nation, McGruder offended many attendees by defiantly expressing his support for Ralph Nader's 2000 presidential bid. McGruder endured heckling and walkouts as he defended his commitment to left-wing causes, including, he claimed, calling Condoleezza Rice a "mass-murderer" to her face during the 2002 NAACP Image Awards.[16] In 2009, it was reported by the Richmond, Indiana publication Palladium Item that he had told a Martin Luther King Day audience at Earlham College in Indiana that then-President-elect Barack Obama was not black.[12] McGruder released a statement insisting he was misquoted, while maintaining he remains "cautiously pessimistic" about Obama's presidency.[12]

A feud with Black Entertainment Television has given McGruder much material both for his strip and the animated series based upon it; he has had an adverse relationship with BET for years. Two Season 2 episodes of The Boondocks animated series, "The Hunger Strike" and "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show", were never broadcast in the US due to possible legal action against Cartoon Network's parent company Time Warner by Viacom (BET's parent company, also the owners of Cartoon Network rival Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central) because of their making fun of BET; however, they resurfaced for television airplay weeks later in Canada. The episodes in question depict BET as an evil media empire plotting the destruction of black people.[17]

Personal life[edit]

By 2005[3] and as of 2013, McGruder was residing in Los Angeles[1][3] with his three dogs: Remix, Retro, and Hooligan.[18]


  1. ^ a b c "McGruder, Aaron 1974". encyclopedia.com. Gale. 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Aaron McGruder". Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale. 2009. (registration required (help)). 
  3. ^ a b c d e McGruder, Aaron (2005-11-03). "Aaron McGruder". The A.V. Club. Interview by Nathan Rabin. Retrieved October 17, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Younge, Gary (December 22, 2005). "Strip Tease". Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  5. ^ a b c Astor, David (October 9, 1999). "'Boondocks' Artist Still Living on the Edge of Controversy: Aaron McGruder Comes to Canada to Talk about His High-Profile Comic". Editor & Publisher. republished excerpt online at Questia.com. 
  6. ^ "The Boondocks (1995)". IMDb.com. Retrieved October 18, 2016. 
  7. ^ "The Boondocks" (PDF). UClick.com. Andrews McMeel Universal. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 4, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2016. 
  8. ^ "The Uncle Ruckus Movie by Aaron McGruder". Kickstarter.com. 
  9. ^ a b Moore, Frazier (April 18, 2014). "'The Boondocks' Back For Final 'Offensive' Season". AP.org. Associated Press. Retrieved April 23, 2014. 
  10. ^ "The Boondocks (2005) Episode List: Season 4". IMDb.com. Retrieved October 17, 2016. 
  11. ^ a b "Speakers and Panels". H2K2.net. 2002. Retrieved October 18, 2016. 
  12. ^ a b c Rose, Kim (January 22, 2009). "'Boondocks' Creator Explains Obama Comment". BET.com. Retrieved October 18, 2016. 
  13. ^ Larnick, Eric (January 20, 2012). "Aaron McGruder, 'Boondocks' Creator, on Writing 'Red Tails' and Working With George Lucas After Making Fun of Him". Moviefone.com. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  14. ^ Gray, Jonathan; Jones, Jeffrey; Thompson, Ethan (April 2009). Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era. New York University Press. p. 271. 
  15. ^ McGruder, Aaron (July 13, 2002). "Keynote address, H2K2" (MP3). Event occurs at 21:08 – 21:51. Retrieved June 7, 2010. 
  16. ^ a b McGrath, Ben (April 19, 2004). "The Radical: Why do editors keep throwing 'The Boondocks' off the funnies page?". The New Yorker. 
  17. ^ Braxton, Greg (June 4, 2008). "'Boondocks' to BET: !*%#!". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  18. ^ "The Uncle Ruckus Movie by Aaron McGruder". Kickstarter.com. 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2016. 

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