Jesus Christ has been named the most significant person in human history ever, according to a rankings system based on Wikipedia data. The list was created by analyzing the impact a figure has had on people’s opinions over history. He has been depicted on big and small screens in movies such as Son of God, the animated series South Park and recently characterized as a black man from Compton in Black Jesus. Although the latter has been surrounded by great controversy, it has been approved for another season which is set to debut in September 2015.
The first season of Black Jesus is set to be released on DVD on September 1 and will be available online and in stores across the country. It is a sitcom which depicts Jesus as the Son of God living in today’s society. He is surrounding by his posse of loyal, but downtrodden friends, or followers, as he attempts to spread love, compassion, and kindness throughout his Compton neighborhood. Aaron McGruder, the creator of this live-action series, is no stranger to controversy; he also created The Boondocks for the Adult Swim network. Both of the series are based on realistic situations surrounding the African-American culture.
Black Jesus first aired on Adult Swim last August. Adult Swim, nor McGruder, have ever been afraid to cross the boundaries of what many would consider offensive. According to Nielsen Media Research, the first season was the top-rated show in its time slot versus all cable television for adults. The largest group of supporters were men between the ages of 18 and 34 in over 4.5 million adults that tuned in.
The series stars newcomer Slink Johnson as the tall and slightly awkward Jesus. It also depicts other main characters of the Bible as if they were modern-day African-Americans from Compton. Well-known Charlie Murphy plays a type of Pontius Pilot, and others such as Corey Holcomb, Antwon Tanner, Kali Hawk, Andrew Bachelor, Andra Fuller, Valenzia Algarin, Angela Gibbs and the one and only John Witherspoon display the disciples and other followers including Mary Magdalene.
Season Two of Black Jesus debuts next month, but is it appropriate satire and does it harm Christianity? Many religious members of society feel it is highly inappropriate while others like the idea of seeing Jesus characterized in a variety of social contexts complete with different racial features. While there may not be any mention of Hennessey in the Bible, the first recorded miracle involves Jesus turning water to wine.
Jesus was constantly criticized for keeping company with whores and other marginal folks so it pays to reason if he walked the earth during modern times he might find himself meeting with winos, weed heads and even bums. He made a purpose of meeting with anyone who lent an ear to the good news he came to bring. The Bible refers to Jesus as a “friend of sinners” but many Christians have added their own flair to indicate that he was only a friend of sinners who were on the road to conversion. This, however, is one of the biggest myths of the Christian faith.
Unlike many of the starch people who make up today’s religious community, Jesus had a sense of humor which would have taken on just as many forms today as it did in biblical times. Jesus wanted his message to be clear and understood by all. Just as he spoke in the context of the community he was addressing, he would use those same methods today and speak in the lingo of the culture he was attempting to impart the good news.
The Son of God may not have smoked weed, drank Hennessey or used foul language, but yet appeared to many so-called followers of his day to show a type of irreverence as he sought to connect with those unlike himself. Although surrounded by controversy, the message of Jesus is surely powerful enough to survive the storyline of Black Jesus.
Season One of this satirical depiction of Jesus comes out on DVD September 1 with a brand new season airing on Adult Swim the same month. The two-disc Black Jesus Season One DVD set includes all 10 episodes, as well as bloopers, outtakes, and commentary tracks.
by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
CNN: What’s wrong with ‘Black Jesus’ comedy?
Guardian Liberty Voice: ‘Boondocks’ Creator Is Back With New Comedy Series ‘Black Jesus’
Christian Post: Jesus Christ Is No. 1 In Top 10 Most Significant Figures In Human History
All Images Courtesy of Black Jesus