Months ago, I heard that The Boondock’s creator, Aaron McGruder, was writing a new show for Adult Swim. I was excited to say the least. I’ve always enjoyed the satirical and unapologetic comedy that McGruder produced, so I was interested in seeing how he would place his unique spin on a show entitled “Black Jesus.”
The show premiered on Thursday, August 7, 2014, to an outcry of protests from the religious base. There is an online petition currently circulating with nearly 10,000 signatures calling for the cancelation of the show. No one seems to have anything good to say about this program. At the top of the list is the fact that Jesus is being portrayed as a Black man. I, for one, was glad to finally see Jesus portrayed by an African American. A darker-skinned Jesus is more historically and Biblically correct, as Jesus was born in a region where the people were of darker skin tones, and the Bible references Jesus as having “hair like wool … and feet the color of brass.”
As I did more research about “Black Jesus,” I found out that the more concerning elements of the show were the blasphemous overtures. Now, I do not want to be presumptuous in thinking that everyone is familiar with what blasphemy means, or how serious this is to the church. Blasphemy is the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk. According to scripture, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin. So, you can understand how an entire show seemingly centered around blasphemous tones could be more than offensive to Christian viewers.
So, I wanted to watch the show for myself before blindly writing the show off as being offensive. Needless to say, within the first 60 seconds of the show, I was conflicted. As a fan of McGruder, I found the banter and dialogue humorous, but in the same breathe, I was offended at how Jesus was being portrayed. As a Christian, this show is not easy to watch at all. Think of it in simple terms, if you love someone, you do not want to hear anyone speak negatively about them. This is how I felt while watching “Black Jesus.” I love Jesus Christ, and I respect and honor Him as my Savior, so it was hard for me to watch Him portrayed in a way that I felt was ultimately disrespectful.
However, in an effort to give an unbiased assessment of the show, I will say that it is creative and daring (to say the least). The show has a star-studded cast with veteran comedians such as Charlie Murphy, John Witherspoon and Vine sensation, King Bach. In true McGruder fashion, “Black Jesus” uses satire to force you to think of everyday situations in a different way. The character of Jesus in the show is God’s son and has all of the power that comes with that role, but He does not abuse it. He is shown going through life with everyday people and trying to walk the line between humanity and His divinity. He is shown as being conflicted in this walk in several occasions because He would spread messages of love and salvation, then moments later lie, curse or do drugs. Perhaps there is something to be said about how as Christians, we struggle with these very same temptations. As we try to live holy and walk upright, we often go back and forth between righteous and questionable living.
I’d like to believe that McGruder was not intentionally trying to be offensive or blasphemous against Christ with the making of “Black Jesus.” I believe he decided to place “Jesus” into modern day scenarios to show the conflict that humans have in trying to do what is right in a world that seems to be rigged for us to fail. The problem with his approach, in my opinion, is that the premise is flawed. Yes, Jesus did walk this earth as a man and was faced with all of the ills and temptations that we face now. But, the difference is that Christ did not sin, He did not yield, He did not fail.
If there is a silver lining in any of this, it is that God can take anything and turn it around for good. So, while people may be offended and upset about this television show, it may be the springboard to peek someone’s curiosity to find out who the REAL Jesus is. You never know what avenue can be used to shine a light on Jesus Christ.
Baton Rouge native, Letrece Griffin, lights up every room she enters. With a flair for high fashion, bright colors, a golden smile, and a positive attitude, Griffin offers a welcoming sense of genuine openness and experience beyond her years. She is a mentor, a writer of many trades, and a marketing and branding expert who serves in a variety of roles, including a few independent ventures, passion projects, contracts, and a full-time career in marketing. She is currently the Chief of Communications & Family Engagement for the East Baton Rouge Parish School System where she leads a team that produces all district-wide marketing collateral, events, and community engagement efforts.
Griffin also previously served as the Marketing Specialist for the extremely popular Knock Knock Children’s Museum, where she was responsible for day-to-day operations, including developing and increasing awareness about programming, creative content, and managing an internship program for which she is lauded as bringing to the museum. A child at heart, she is also a part of the reason why adults have the special opportunity to attend the museum childfree and play during Grown-ups at Play – an idea she wholeheartedly supports and expertly markets to sell-out runs each time. Her innovative ideas, ability to dream big, and work hard have all been attributed to the museum’s continued success.
She also flexes her media muscle as an Executive Producer for Melanin3 Media. In this work, she has produced the documentaries “Shades of Her: A Commentary on Colorism” and “The Side Effect: The Kirt Thibodeaux Story,” as well as music videos for PJ Morton and Michael Dixon. She has secured shooting locations, cast, dancers, interviewees, makeup artists, wardrobe specialists, set production/filming schedule, and hosted relevant events to complement projects, such as a run of free screenings and discussion groups for “Shades of Her,” throughout East Baton Rouge Parish libraries. She has also worked for the past three years as the Director of Operations for the IRAA Awards – a Baton Rouge-based awards ceremony weekend set to honor independent gospel artists. She also lends her services as the social media and marketing consultant for Southern University’s Human Jukebox.
But Griffin’s work doesn’t stop there. In her spare time, she is a creative mastermind seeking to change the world one market at a time. She has certainly exceeded some pretty lofty goals and collected lots of accolades in the process. She has been featured in a variety of publications highlighting her work as an independent marketing and branding consultant and author, including , Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, and The Rouge Collection. She has been an honoree, both nationally and locally, of several noteworthy awards, including Women Doing It Big (2022, Newark, NJ), Greater Baton Rouge Business Report 40 Under 40 (2019, Baton Rouge, LA), Woman of Wonder (2019, Houston, TX), which celebrates women in the southern region who excel in their respective fields; Baton Rouge Black Professionals 40 Under 40 (2015, Baton Rouge); Top Branding Experts on Twitter (2014, EC Branding); and Manager of the Year (2013, One Accord DJ Alliance), among countless other honors.
She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., in which she has served as a Regional Leadership Team Member, Journalist for the Southwest Region, and volunteers through the sorority’s many community efforts that advocate for mentorship, health and wellness, and social activism. Griffin is also a charter member of The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. – Metropolitan Baton Rouge Chapter, in which she served as Director of Publicity and Communications from 2016 to 2018. She has volunteered extensively in the civic organization’s community efforts, including hurricane relief, and mentoring through the BR Grow Girls initiative – which was recognized by Essence Magazine in the summer of 2019. Outside of organizational volunteer work, Griffin has given of herself to Outstanding Mature Girlz – also recognized by Essence Magazine this past summer – where she has facilitated workshops on self-esteem and youth entrepreneurship at the program’s annual conference. Griffin’s other outreach efforts include assisting communities with food insecurity through Top Box Foods, venue and participant coordination for a concert to benefit It Takes a Village, and hosting a women’s entrepreneur showcase for The Write Philosofher.
Griffin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from Loyola University and a Master of Science degree in Entertainment Business from Full Sail University. And while she is one busy woman, she always makes time to continue working towards the things she loves, which includes sharing her knowledge and experiences to help grow a giving and learning community. She is the author of two books, “The Write Way: A 21-Day Interactive Journey to Self-Love and Awareness” (2017) and “The G Code: 15 Keys to Successful Marketing & Branding” (2019), and one workbook, “The G Code Glow-Up: A Marketing & Branding Workbook” (2020). Her writing has been awarded both internationally and locally. Griffin’s “G Code” book series was acknowledged as a 2022 Book Fest Award winner and 2020 International Book Award finalist. She was also recognized as BR Parent Magazine’s 2020 Favorite Local Author. Griffin is excited to experience continued growth, leadership training, opportunities, and invaluable experiences that she can extend to others.