Just when you thought the blaxploitation era was long gone, along comes “Black Dynamite,” a new animated series spoof that debuted Sunday night on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block.
A spin-off of the 2009 live-action movie with the same name, “Black Dynamite” meshes the wicked funk of the ’70s with fresh anime fashion and epic still shots. The style immediately reeks of “The Boondocks,” an understandable conclusion, seeing as “Dynamite” shares the same producers as Aaron McGruder’s creation.
Michael Jai White reprises his film role here, voicing the suave, butt-kicking, ex-CIA agent Black Dynamite. He is partnered with Bullhorn, voiced by Byron Minns; Cream Corn, voiced by Tommy Davidson; and the well-endowed Honeybee, voiced by Kym Whitley. The group goes around solving street cases and tangling with HNICs (head ninjas in charge).
In the first full-length episode (Adult Swim Video released the 10-minute pilot last August), Cream Corn has abandoned the team to see the Jackson 5 live. But things go awry when Michael Jackson’s brothers mess up the performance. Backstage, young Michael scolds his kin, telling dad Joe Jackson to whip them with his belt. Tired of his star son bossing around the crew, Joe pulls a gun on the musical prodigy.
Corn, hearing the commotion, comes to the rescue, taking a bullet in his behind and launching a friendship with Michael, pedophiliac elements subtly implied.
Will the Jackson family really be okay with this reimagining of the events between Joe and his children or the complete 360 that comes near the end? Hard to tell. But what isn’t hard to see is that “Black Dynamite” is shaping up to be something pretty interesting–you have slapstick, homages to classics such as “Shaft” and “Dolemite” and wacky dialogue. Now if only Huey would make a cameo this season.
Catch new episodes of “Black Dynamite” Sunday nights at 11:30 p.m. on Adult Swim.