Right now, all anyone can talk about is #Oprah2020, but over a decade ago, the popular animated series The Boondocks predicted exactly this.
Back in 2006, the comic strip-turned-cartoon show aired an episode called “Return of the King” in which Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was not assassinated in 1968 but had fallen into a coma. In the episode, King wakes up in 2000 and navigates the perils of the modern era and the newer face of discrimination.
At one point in the episode, King’s nonviolent views are so inflammatory in a post-9/11 world that he has to go to Canada.
At the time of the episode, The Boondocks sparked massive controversy, even though it later won a Peabody Award. Clearly, it was a divisive episode.
“Cartoon Network must apologize and also commit to pulling episodes that desecrate black historic figures,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said at the time, USA Today reported at the time.
But, amid all the controversy was a golden nugget. In the final frames of the show, a newspaper from Nov. 8, 2020, declared that Oprah Winfrey had just been elected president.
The Boondocks, 2006 pic.twitter.com/eoxfnejCHm
— Victor Blackwell CNN (@VictorBlackwell) January 8, 2018
Not necessarily a joke
While The Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder spent his time pushing sensitive subjects and stretching boundaries, he also put his finger on the truth on a regular basis.
Because of this, the Washington Post noted that it’s entirely possible that the final frames weren’t meant as a joke but were actually a testament to the power that Winfrey has.
“Oprah has the power to lay waste to entire industries with a mere utterance,” McGruder told the New York Times in 2005. “That’s a power that you have to respect. And ultimately I respect it.”
This isn’t the first time that a cartoon has predicted the future, either. The Simpsons predicted back in 2000 that Donald Trump would be elected president in an episode called “Bart to the Future.”