'Black Jesus' Stirs Controversy, Delivers the Good News

Adult Swim’s newest show, ‘Black Jesus,’ has been stirring up plenty of ire and controversy, but the conversation among detractors neglects to see the overall message: love.

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Adult Swim’s newest show, 'Black Jesus,' has been stirring up plenty of ire and controversy, but the conversation among detractors neglects to see the overall message: love.

Where must all this love be in present-day, southwest Compton, you ask, occupied with homeless persons, drunkards, ex-cons, drug dealers and atheist cops?

It comes through the character of Black Jesus, played by Gerald ‘Slink’ Johnson. In his biblical, brown robes, he’s dropping nuggets of love, compassion and understanding to the “downtrodden” community, who are looking for some hope. He’s not only among the sinners, he represents them, engaging in foul-mouthed exchanges, greedily smoking weed, and doing other things deemed “ungodly.”

Creators Aaron McGruder (The Boondocks) and Mike Clattenburg (Trailer Park Boys) makes the realities of contemporary society, and how faith intermingles with it, visible, through the faces of multicultural communities in American culture.

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In one scene from the first episode, one of Jesus’ followers, Fish, sees a traffic officer writing a ticket for Jesus’ parked van on the street. He tells the officer that he can move it, and calls two of his friends to help. All the while, the officer pays him no mind, proceeding to fill out the ticket. As the van is being moved to another area, Fish pleads with the officer.

“C’mon man, it’s not even 8 (expletive) o’clock. You trippin.”

“8:20 [a.m.],” the officer dryly responds. Fish gets irritated.

“You out here writing these funky (expletive), $79 tickets for street cleaning and look at this, man!” (Kicks empty liquor bottle off the sidewalk.)

“This (expletive) street ain’t even clean. The least your fat (expletive) can do is clean up some stuff.”

From the 3 minute segment you see a cop, indifferent to the space that he and other inhabitants live around. Streets and sidewalks are trashed with litter composed of paper, emptied trash bags and liquor bottles. He also disregards Fish, a resident of the community, who kindly and imploringly asks for a break.

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