CCI: Black Dynamite Pulls Viewers, and Michael Jackson, Back to ’70s
If audience reaction at Comic-Con International is any indication, Adult Swim’s Black Dynamite is going to be a huge hit.
An episode of the animated series, based on the 2009 live-action film of the same name, was shown to a capacity crowd, followed by a question-and-answer session with stars Michael Jai White, Tommy Davidson, Orlando Jones, Debra Wilson, Cedric Yarbourgh, Kym Whitley and Byron Minns, as well as Executive Producer Carl Jones (The Boondocks). The audience ate it up.
The episode, titled “Just Beat It, or Jackson Five Across Yo’ Eyes,” centers on Black Dynamite taking on a villainous 1970s-era Michael Jackson who, it turns out, is really the one beating his brothers and father. This version of Jackson is crude, shocking and funny. There was constant loud laughter during the screening.
All of the Black Dynamite feature-film staples are there, from supporting characters like Cream Corn, Honey Bee and Foxxy Mama to the purposely improper-for-the-sake-of-laughter dialogue. Take this exchange between a woman and Black Dynamite for example: “Black Dynamite, don’t you know who that is? That’s Michael Jackson from the Jackson Five. “I know who Michael Jackson is, and what he is of.” Or this statement to Michael Jackson: “I’m sure once you grow some man balls you won’t sound like no little girl no more.”
The panel participated in only a short discussion following the screening because, in the words of moderator Gregory Anthony Williams, “the white man only gave us eight minutes.”
One of the first questions was whether it was too much, too soon for such a harsh portrayal of Jackson. with the harsh portrayal of Jackson. “We have love for Michael,” said Executive Producer Carl Jones. “ I know he would have thought it was funny. I know Joe Jackson sure loves it.”
Asked what the status was of another Black Dynamite movie, White said he originally conceived a blaxsploitation trilogy, using the same cast but as different characters. “People like Jim Brown or Fred Williamson would play Hammer, but then they would be in another film which was basically the same but this time they were playing Bolt,” he said. “We are doing some other things first, but we may get back to it at some point.”
As for the new show, future episodes will deal with other ‘70s icons and events. “We have lots of ideas,” White said, adding that the series will revisit fan-favorite lines from the feature film as well as create brand new ones.
Davidson said he was proud of the show. “I’m so happy to be a part of it,” he said. “It’s innovative. It’s funky fresh.”
Black Dynamite airs Sundays at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT on Adult Swim.