the boondocks
the boondocks

12 Years Ago, ‘The Boondocks’ Predicted an Oprah Winfrey Presidential Win in 2020

After her soaring Golden Globes speech, a rallying cry has come over the nation calling for Oprah Winfrey to run for president in 2020. Oddly enough, in 2006, the edgy cartoon The Boondocks predicted a Winfrey 2020 presidency.

The Boondocks was an American adult animated sitcom on Cartoon Network’s late-night programming block known as Adult Swim. Created by Aaron McGruder, The Boondocks was based upon his comic strip of the same name and followed a black family, the Freemans, settling into the fictional, friendly and overall white suburb of Woodcrest. The perspective offered by the mixture of cultures, lifestyles, social classes, stereotypes, viewpoints and racial(ized) identities provided for much of the series’ satire, comedy and conflict.

The season one episode “Return of the King,” which later won a 2006 Peabody Award, was especially controversial.

The Washington Post reports:

The program imagined an alternative history in which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was not assassinated in 1968. Instead, he had fallen into a coma. In the episode he wakes up in 2000. King’s nonviolent views become so unpopular following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that he leaves to live in Canada.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist and political commentator, was incensed by the program. “Cartoon Network must apologize and also commit to pulling episodes that desecrate black historic figures,” he said, USA Today reported at the time.

In the show’s final frames, a newspaper headline from November 8, 2020, shows Oprah Winfrey has just been elected president.

McGruder featured Oprah in another episode as well, where she gets kidnapped by two thugs. After Sony execs asked that he heavily edit that episode, he didn’t protest. “They were scared of Oprah, which is OK,”he told the New York Times in 2005. “We should all have a healthy fear of Oprah.”

“Oprah has the power to lay waste to entire industries with a mere utterance,” he added. “That’s a power that you have to respect. And ultimately I respect it.”

As the Washington Post also points out, there’s a precedent of cable cartoon shows successfully predicting future political events. In 2000, The Simpsons aired an episode titled “Bart to the Future.”

The plot featured a President Donald Trump.