Joe Rogan, Dave Chappelle & The Boondocks: First Amendment Rights

Updated: Feb 21

The First Amendment is first for a reason. Second Amendment is just in case the first one doesn't work out.

-Dave Chappelle


What exactly are we allowed to say? This is a question that has predominated human existence since the invention of language. What are the parameters of our expression? What exactly does freedom of speech mean? This question becomes more & more relevant everyday.


Since The Rona this question has become more relevant than ever. I live among the Freedom convoys in Canada, a nation that just declared a state of Emergency to combat against Free Assembly. There’s been wide scale & sweeping censorship happening in front of our eyes across all platforms & pathways of life from Government to Big tech, to individuals who are self censoring in fear of reprecussions.


Everyone is very divided on what exactly we are allowed to say. Nobody wants to spread misinformation & everyone wants to share the truth, but nobody can agree on what the Truth is anymore.


Joe Rogan is currently under attack with massive smear campaigns set against him in order to discredit him & make him look like a racist and a conspiracy theorist because of his opinions on the Rona and the controversial guests he has on the highest rated platform on Planet Earth.


As soon as people noticed that Spotify would not deplatform Joe for his opinions, someone compiled footage of Joe saying Nigga that has been on the internet for years. More people watch Joe Rogan podcasts than any other traditional News network on any given day, so someone felt the need to discredit him in order to silence his opinion.


This whole situation of discrediting people for their opinions is eerily similar to COINTELPRO. COINTELPRO (Counterintelligence Program) was conducted by the FBI from 1956 to 1971 to discredit and neutralize organizations considered subversive to U.S. political stability. It was covert and often used illegal means to criminalize various forms of political struggle and derail several social movements, such as those for civil rights and Puerto Rican independence. Targets of Cointelpro included various high profile celebrities like Muhammad Ali, as well as the Black Panther Party‎. Tupac Shakurs mother was one of the people targeted, Pac's first memories at 4 years old were of undercover cops outside his window talking about his mother on a walkie talkie.


There are people who believe Joe Rogan is actively leading millions to their death by spreading misinformation, & there’s some who view Rogan as a messianic figure leading the charge towards freedom and it really all depends on what algorithm you're consuming.


This whole situation has brought up interesting questions. Who is allowed to say what? To what extent are they allowed to say it? To what extent should the government or corporate entities have control over what individuals are allowed to express? At what point does it become fascism?


Saying what you want to say is the hardest thing in the world, especially if you want to say things are broken and need to be fixed, because there are people with vested interests in maintaining the status quo, so by opposing anything you instantly create enemies.


“Jesus was black, Ronald Reagan was the devil and the government is lying about 9/11”


This was said in the first 35 seconds of the first episode of The Boondocks. The Boondocks is by far my favourite animated series & one of my favourite shows of all time, it's been the coolest thing in the world to me since I was a kid & everyday it becomes better and more relevant than when I first saw it.


There’s so many things about this show that make it perfect. The fact that the show was culturally relevant and discussing things I cared about, the fact that it had the greatest intro ever made or how it incorporated music by MF Doom & Madlib, the fact that it had Kung Fu & some of the best action sequences & fight choreography in modern animation, the fact that it had some of the most brilliant satire on modern pop culture, the fact that there was Lil Wayne cameos & Nate Dogg songs, the fact that it had some of the best voice actors, & character writers in human history. I could go on & on about why this show is perfect but I think it all has to do with the genius behind it and his willingness to Die for his truth, in his own words.


Aaron Mcgruder is one of my heroes. He’s one of my biggest inspirations in life. I used to try to make cartoons as a kid because of the Boondocks. If you’ve been following me for a while you know that the main reason I even created this platform was to be abrasive in my opinions like Mcgruder. This show was one of the most important pieces of media I consumed during my formative years & it actually shaped my worldview. Aaron Mcgruder had the balls to constantly go out on the limb and say things that others wouldn’t dream of saying.


Aaron McGruder began his studies at the University of Maryland. While he pursued a degree in Afro-American studies, he began laying the groundwork for The Boondocks. The Boondocks began in 1996 as a webcomic on Hitlist.com, one of the first online music websites. The comic strip's main characters are two young African-American brothers, Huey (named after Huey P. Newton) and his younger brother and wannabe gangsta, Riley, from inner-city Chicago who are relocated to live with their grandfather in a sedate suburb. In six months, the comic strip was being distributed to more than 200 publications. The strip was then adapted to an animated series on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim & the rest is history.


What I learned while doing research on Mcgruder is how much he is really like Huey. Mcgruder is very serious about social issues and was very open about using The Boondocks as a vehicle for revolution. In a fiery speech in 2002 shortly after 9/11 (that can be found on YouTube) Mcgruder says he is willing to die for his opinions in order to make changes because he believed that by the year 2150 most of the American population would be in jail, he said he believed certain heads of state were aware of & in fact involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he was going hard in the paint with his revolutionary opinions, & I watched with my mouth on the floor.


Expressing yourself is the hardest thing in the world, especially today. Public speaking is scary, let alone saying controversial opinions to the whole world that could get you cancelled and left unhireable by Corporate America or even worse, have you assassinated. Yet Mcgruder consistently unsheathed his sword, whether it was to write a scene or give a speech, Mcgruder was trying to say the realest shit he could ever say.


Mcgruder is much like Dave Chappelle & Tupac Shakur. All of these men entered the Entertainment industry with revolutionary ambitions in the 90s, during a tumultuous era for African Americans. All of these men, much like Joe Rogan, were products of the 60s counter-culture & very open about picking up the mantle of revolutionary ideologies against the status quo.


All of these men faced intense backlash, Tupac was murdered, Chappelle fled to South Africa, Mcgruder was kicked off his own show & wasn’t involved in the mediocre 4th season, and now Rogan is being attacked & discredited from all angles.


In the 60s there were several major assassinations letting everyone know that America was not going to tolerate mass disobedience and revolutionary rhetoric, and those assassinations instantly worked. They were public examples, warnings to anyone that might feel the need to speak and cause any disturbance, after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, John F Kennedy & more, many of the revolutionary ideologies of the 60s were subsided and the status quo was maintained.


Now, I might not agree with Rogan, or Chappelle, Mcgruder, or Pac but as the French philosopher Voltaire said "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it."


I don’t have any cause I’m willing to die for, I don’t have any rigid opinions on any matters really, I’m very malleable & willing to hear everyone out, if I disagree strongly with someone I just tune them out & don’t engage, the fact that there are people who feel like they have a right to curate what other people are allowed to say is insane.


It seems like there is an economy built on fostering unnecessary division & paranoia among neighbours. Regardless of the worst natural disaster, if we can foster care, camaraderie, free communication & love in a community, we can overcome anything and the way to do that isn’t smear campaigns and cancel culture.


"Dont let these bitch ass niggas button your lip, say it anyway"

-Dave Chappelle


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