Carl Jones on ‘Black Dynamite’

The director of  the "Black Dynamite" animated series tells us how he brought Elvis and Nixon back to life.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

The movie Black Dynamite was the brainchild of star Michael Jai White, writer Byron Simms and director Scott Sanders. To bring Black Dynamite to television required an animation director. "The Boondocks" producer Carl Jones is executive producing the "Black Dynamite" animated series on Adult Swim. Earlier this summer, we met him at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles (you’ll get it if you’ve seen the movie or the show) to talk about his work.


CraveOnline: They had Nixon in the movie, but is it easier to do celebrities like Richard Pryor in the animated series?

Carl Jones: Absolutely. As long as you have somebody who can draw him, it’s absolutely easier. That’s what’s so fun about it, because we can dig up anybody, literally. We have Nixon in the show so he’s kind of like a recurring villain.

CraveOnline: Nixon’s back?

Carl Jones: Nixon’s back, man. We had to bring him back.

CraveOnline: Is Nixon mad at Black Dynamite for taking his wife at the end of the movie?

Carl Jones: We don’t follow that storyline. The way we play him is he’s got a constant vendetta against Black Dynamite so he wants to destroy the black community to rid the world of Black Dynamite. It’s not even the black community he has a problem with. He just wants to rid the black community of Black Dynamite. So we [introduced] him in the show with an episode about Elvis, because you know Elvis actually got a badge to fight the war on drugs. So he sends Elvis into the black community to stop drugs in the black community.

Elvis gets his ass kicked by Black Dynamite. He sees the light. He realizes that he f***ed up and that all of his music was inspired by the black community and the conditions of the black community that brought forth the beauty of the music. So the black community embraces him, they have a party and all of a sudden he dies. I’m going to leave it right there.

CraveOnline: So that’s 1977?

Carl Jones: The thing with the show is we never really specify exactly what year it is. So we never actually say the ‘70s in the show ever. We kind of leave it open for people. There might be a couple of things that probably took place in ’80.

CraveOnline: How did you adapt Black Dynamite to an animated series?

Carl Jones: We try to keep it pretty true to the movie. That was initially the pressure I had on my back was to keep it consistent enough where the fans of the movie would easily dial in and it would feel familiar to them, and then people who weren’t familiar with the movie could also gravitate to it. So it was trying to find all the great things about the movie and the things that make television shows great, combining them into one and making it work.

Mike [Jai White] and Byron [Simms] are heavily involved in the creative aspects of the show and the writing as well. We work together to make sure that everything is consistent. Probably the biggest difference from the show to the movie is there’s probably more of the family unit that exists within Cream Corn, Honeybee, Black Dynamite and Bullhorn. In that sense it’s structured a little differently in terms of the writing, because there’s usually a B story that exists just within the crew, some type of emotional story that’s going on just between the crew.

Then you have the A story which is some ridiculous plot, somebody that Black Dynamite has to take down. That’s I guess a different muscle that we have to exercise with the show.

CraveOnline: How do you look back on "The Boondocks?"

Carl Jones: Oh, it’s great. That was probably the best experience of my life. I learned a lot from Aaron McGruder Working as his right hand man for over six years. I just learned a lot from him. Everything I’ve learned hands on from that show, I’m trying to utilize to my best of my abilities to make this show great so it was a great experience.