This year’s New York Comic Con saw the return of the blaxploitation homage/parody “Black Dynamite” to the halls of the Jacob Javits Center as a part of programming block Adult Swim’s series of panels.
A joint effort between actors Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite), Byron Minns (the constantly rhyming Bullhorn), and director Scott Sanders, “Dynamite” started off as a short trailer that eventually turned into a film tasked with simultaneously satirizing and celebrating the foibles, techniques, and vibe of blaxploitation films of the 1970s. The film’s sheer dedication to its own premise, including shooting and recording footage with actual equipment from the 70s, made it popular with blaxploitation enthusiasts, comedy fans, and the cult festival circuit, which led to Adult Swim ordering a season of an animated series based on the concept.
That show is heading into its second season this coming Saturday, and I got the chance to talk to the cast, including Tommy Davidson (Cream Corn) and Kym Whitley (Honey Bee) about it. Hit the jump for the seven things you should be excited about this season.
Black Dynamite never loses
No matter who he fights, Jai White made it clear that “Black Dynamite never loses.” His hyper competent skills and uptight attitude are played for comedic effect throughout the series, but if you’e looking for animated ass-kicking, you’re sure to find it on BD.
It draws heavily from blaxploitation of years past
From “Dolemite” to “Shaft” and everything in between, blaxploitation has touched everyone involved with the show. Jai White himself said that Black Dynamite is “an amalgamation of Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, and Jim Kelly…They were my heroes growing up.” Minns cites “Dolemite” in particular as an influence on the character of Bullhorn.
I asked Davidson and Whitley about their favorite blaxploitation films and their answers were varied:
Davidson: My favorite was probably ‘Blacula.’Whitley: Blacula? Hilarious! That’s a good one. My favorite was the one with Nichelle Nichols where she played The Madame…”Truck Turner.” Plus anything that Pam Grier made.Davidson: Well, we all loved those.Whitley: But Superfly was my favorite!Davidson: That was all the girls’ favorite!
It isn’t afraid to push the envelope
While not as controversial as its spiritual cousin “The Boondocks,” “Black Dynamite” and its cast has never been afraid to push the envelope when they feel the need to, as Jai White himself says:
No no, not on the creative end. We’re gonna push it all the way there. If we have to back it up, it’ll be because of a network thing. I think the reason that The Internet has blown up the way it has is because it allows people to have and share real experiences with each other and I can’t complain about that in an industry where there’s so much formula. We’re going to do something that’s going to take you somewhere.
Davidson went even more in depth about the cast’s willingness to wring comedy out of “Black Dynamite:”
Without culture, we ain’t got comedy. Everyone has their take on everything and now it’s our turn. “Black Dynamite” is a chance for us to take the blaxploitation era and blow it out of proportion and have some real fun with it. The Boondocks was very contemporary, very hip-hop. We’re taking that, blending it with old styles from the 70s…In the 21st century, we’re like, ‘come on, let’s do it.’
Cameos are all over the place
The first season of the show had the cast interacting with celebrities from the 70s and 80s, including but not limited to Richard Pryor (Eddie Griffin), O.J. Simpson (Aries Spears), and a mash-up of Eartha Kitt (Debra Wilson) and K.I.T.T. from “Knight Rider.” Director/executive producer Carl Jones promised that there would be more on the way:
Our version of the Black Panthers are called The Black Pumas. We have Bill Cosby in an episode. We have a Bob Marley episode. Honey Bee falls in love with Bob Marley.
The Council of Pimps and The Community will be explored more
The Council of Pimps was a short-lived but scene-stealing section of the movie, and Jones promises that we’ll see more of them, particularly the red-wearing Chocolate Giddyup, played by Cedric Yarborough (pictured above). “The Community,” as it’s referred to by everyone in the area, will also be fleshed out over the course of the season.
It will eventually lead to a second movie…sort of.
One of the most pressing questions we’ve had about “Black Dynamite” is when (and if) we’re ever going to see a sequel, and Jai White cleared the air – kind of:
We’re in fast-forward mode. Our intention was to do three blaxploitation-ish movies, Black Dynamite being the first. If the second of that trilogy precedes Black Dynamite 2, so be it, but it’s something that we’re really excited about. We think it’s going to be really funny and we don’t know which one’s going to come out first.
Honey Bee will get to see more action
As fierce a fighter as she is, Honey Bee wasn’t given much action time last season. Luckily, Whitley and Davidson reassured us that Bee will see more of it this season:
Whitley: She is fighting more, she has a storyline of her own and you see her on her own more often.Davidson: She has a lot more action. She kicks the horse’s teeth out. That’s all I’m gonna say. You know how big a horse’s teeth are?Whitley: In the movie I wasn’t trying to fight In the cartoon they can make her fight as much as she wants. She’s in shape and all that.
Black Dynamite season 2 premieres on Adult Swim this Saturday, October 18th at 10:30 PM. Check out the trailer below!
Dylan “CineMasai” Green is a movie geek, hip-hop aficionado, and pita chip enthusiast. Find him on Twitter.
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