Visionary Lecture Series

Aaron McGruder

Aaron McGruder, creator of the groundbreaking comic strip and cartoon series "The Boondocks," and the 2014 comedy series "Black Jesus," will join CSRD director Matthew C. Whitaker in a moderated conversation exploring race in America. Called America's "most dangerous black man” by USA Today, McGruder is considered one of the freshest, sharpest humorists of our time. He will offer commentary on and tackle complex issues with his honest, outspoken and subversively funny perspective.



Creator of "The Boondocks" and "Black Jesus"

Aaron McGruder is the creative genius behind “The Boondocks,” the animated comedy series based on his award-winning comic strip of the same name, from Sony Pictures Television for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.

“The Boondocks” tells the story of Huey and Riley, two kids who move from the south side of Chicago to the suburbs with their Granddad, Robert Freeman. In moving to the quiet and safety of ‘The Boondocks’ – aka suburban Woodcrest – it’s Granddad’s hope that he can ignore his rambunctious grand kids and enjoy the fourth quarter of his life in peace. But Huey, a ten-year-old leftist revolutionary and his eight-year-old misfit brother don’t adapt to the new environment. Although the boys torture each other and provoke the neighborhood, they are no match for Granddad, who is eccentric even by "crazy-ass-old-black-man" standards.

McGruder has voiced his thoughts on the world through Huey and Riley and has tackled controversial topics such as race relations, interracial marriage, bi-racial identity and juvenile delinquency, in addition to political happenings and current events. Launched in 1999, “The Boondocks” was published in over 150 newspapers across the nation, making it the second largest launch for a strip ever, surpassing such long-running standards as “Calvin & Hobbs” and “For Better or For Worse.” Within its first few months in print, “The Boondocks” quickly made its way into 200 publications and today the groundbreaking strip can be seen in more than 350 newspapers nationwide.

The enormous success of the comic strip led to a multiple book publishing deal with the first volume, The Boondocks: Because I know You Don’t Read the Newspaperfeaturing a hearty compilation of the record-breaking first year and continues to captivate new fans with its insightful, thought-provoking and humorous look at controversial issues. The second installment was Fresh 01…You Suckas. The third installment, A Right to be Hostile, contained a forward written by filmmaker Michael Moore and was an immediate best seller. Additionally, McGruder co-wrote the political comedy graphic novel, Birth of a Nation and the latest installment Public Enemy #2: An All-New Boondocks CollectionMcGruder has also entered into an agreement with Sony Pictures Animation for an animated film version of The Boondocks.

Keeping his career diverse, he received the prestigious “Chairman’s Award” at the NAACP Image Awards in 2002. In his own unique way, he uses Huey and Riley to open the lines of communication between adults and children on an often unspoken topic. Additionally, McGruder was featured as one of People Magazine’s “25 Most Intriguing People” and as one of it’s the “Most Eligible Bachelors” 2001. USA Today also called him “the most dangerous black man” and compared his voice to that of Langston Hughes.

Provides a venue for innovative social architects to present new ideas and projects related to race and democracy, broadly construed. The Visionary Lecture Series provides an annual fall lecture from a rising star or torch-bearing scholar or practitioner and is intended to be Phoenix's premier lecture on race and participatory democracy.



Featuring Jeff Chang
Author of "Who We Be" & "Can't Stop Won't Stop"

Thursday, November 5, 2015
6:30 p.m.
Bulpitt Auditorium, Phoenix College

Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 6:30pm