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Aaron McGruder
McGruder at the 2002 Hackers on Planet Earth hacker con
McGruder at the 2002 Hackers on Planet Earth hacker con
Born Aaron Vincent McGruder
(1974-05-29) May 29, 1974 (age 49)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
  • Writer
  • cartoonist
  • producer
Genre Comic strips, television screenwriter
Notable works The Boondocks (comic strip)
The Boondocks (2005 TV series)

Aaron Vincent McGruder (born May 29, 1974) is an American writer, cartoonist, and producer best known for creating The Boondocks, a Universal Press Syndicate comic strip and its animated TV series adaptation.

Early life and education

Aaron McGruder was born in Chicago, Illinois. 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.

McGruder attended the Jesuit school, Loyola Blakefield, from grades seven to nine. Following two years he left the school and transferred to public high school, 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

The Boondocks began in 1996 as a webcomic on, one of the first online music websites. At the time, he was also a DJ on The Soul Controllers Mix Show on WMUC. The Boondocks also briefly appeared as a comic strip in the University of Maryland's newspaper The Diamondback during Jayson Blair's tenure as editor-in-chief. McGruder signed a deal with the Universal Press Syndicate and in April 1999, the strip began appearing in 160 newspapers.

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, 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. Five collections of The Boondocks 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 between January 30 through March 1, 2013, but the campaign ended with 2,667 backers and $129,963.

In March 2014, The Boondocks was revived for a new season, but without McGruder's involvement as its showrunner. The first episode of the fourth season was first broadcast on April 21, 2014. In 2019, it was announced a fifth season of The Boondocks would be produced with McGruder's involvement. However, the project was cancelled in February 2022, but Sony is looking at alternative options for the series.

Other work

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.

McGruder has developed into a public speaker on political and cultural issues. McGruder said in a 2002 keynote address at the July 12–14, 2002 H2K2 conference that he believed that President George W. Bush was involved with the September 11 attacks:

Outside of the world of whackos and conspiracy theorists and all of that, very few people in the mainstream have been willing to say what I'm about to say, which is, I really and truthfully believe that George W. Bush is somehow involved, either directly or indirectly, in the attacks on New York City on September 11.

During a 2003 reception hosted by The Nation, McGruder offended 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. In 2009, Richmond, Indiana newspaper Palladium-Item reported that McGruder told a Martin Luther King Day audience at local Earlham College that then-President-elect Barack Obama was not black. McGruder released a statement insisting he was misquoted, while maintaining he remained "cautiously pessimistic" about Obama's presidency.

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. The book's illustrations were drawn by cartoonist Kyle Baker.

In celebration of Black History Month in 2005, McGruder was invited to provide a lecture at the Miami University of Ohio.

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.

In August 2017, it was announced that McGruder, along with producer Will Packer, will develop a series for Amazon Video called Black America which will be based on an alternative history where emancipated black Americans receive three Southern states as reparations for slavery. The series' announcement was reportedly seen as a response to HBO's in-development alternative history series Confederate, whose plot entails a history where the Confederacy won the Civil War.

Personal life

By 2005 and as of 2013, McGruder is residing in Los Angeles.

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