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  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • Time to get black, y'all.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • Good day.

  • Good vibes.

  • Good life.

  • I'm Craig Robinson, and we're back

  • for what I promise to be one of the craziest episodes yet.

  • We're going to deep dive into three different minds that

  • not only see the world through alien colored lenses,

  • they know how to take us into their imaginations

  • and come along for the ride.

  • Oh, well now that I've successfully given myself

  • chills, let's sit back, relax, and enjoy some

  • interstellar creative drip.

  • Caw-caw, caw, caw, caw, caw.

  • Caw, caw.

  • Caw.

  • Oh, what's up, Craig?

  • Hey, how are you doing, Bird?

  • Hey, you know me.

  • Just flying around, doing my thing, trying to stay out

  • of trouble.

  • Same.

  • Showing the world Black excellence.

  • Quick question, caw.

  • You get my fax earlier?

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • You sent that fax?

  • Oh yeah, that was me.

  • It's always me.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • But if you read the fax, then you

  • would know that it's time to set up the next segment.

  • Well, you heard the bird.

  • Time to hit y'all with these bars, dog.

  • These bars.

  • The distinguished Virginia wordsmith

  • Pusha T once said, legend in two games

  • like I'm Pee Wee Kirkland.

  • Well, there's another brother that

  • can claim being legendary in two games, as well.

  • From crafting legendary Nike spots, to crafting an

  • under the radar comic book with Darkhorse 20 years ago that

  • is now even more pointed and relevant than ever,

  • this brother takes OG status to another level.

  • You want to take this one, Bird?

  • This is unexpected.

  • Cool.

  • Here we go.

  • Caw-caw, caw, caw, caw.

  • Your attention, please.

  • Meet Jimmy Smith, creator of Black comic book

  • hero, The Truth.

  • Nice job.

  • Caw.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • I've always loved comic books, so I've

  • always tried to bring that to the work I was working on.

  • This is in 1996, and there is a skier named Picabo

  • Street, Olympic Gold medalist.

  • She's just dope.

  • I was working in advertising as a writer,

  • we had this whole idea to make her a superhero.

  • We spent months on it, bringing it to life, we're ready to go.

  • It's a week before it's going to air.

  • Oh, we don't want to do it.

  • The client pulled the plug on it.

  • So anyway, obviously, we're pissed.

  • We're in Dan Whiten's office.

  • Dan was like, screw that, Jimmy.

  • Just make your own comic book.

  • We'll pay for it.

  • Now, you know, it's like you can hear the record scratch.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • I set the story in the future, 2020.

  • Just enough that it was possible for things to get real bad,

  • but not flying cars.

  • I wanted to show a divided society that's too blind to see

  • the ways in which they're being manipulated into hate

  • and have no idea why.

  • So here, we've got these Asian folks, tired

  • of the "good stereotype", quote unquote,

  • the Native Americans looking to reclaim their land,

  • white folks being racist.

  • I know you all hate the R word.

  • I know.

  • And then we got a Black leader yelling, original man,

  • stirring up trouble.

  • The Truth is named Freeman S. Jackson, III.

  • He's just a regular black dude.

  • He's living his life.

  • He's in his bag.

  • He's got his girl, Smoke, who is actually my wife.

  • Then these ancient deities, spirits from back in the day,

  • sense there's a disturbance.

  • Those before form this spear that

  • ends up going into Freeman's chest,

  • that gives him his superpowers.

  • I remember I was trying to find a power that was unique.

  • I started by not having him fly.

  • Then I said, no, screw that.

  • We don't ever get to fly.

  • Black folks don't get to fly, so I made him fly.

  • He's called The Truth for a reason,

  • and that's his main superpower.

  • He forces you to see the truth, to actually see what is real,

  • not what's fake, not what's a bunch of BS,

  • but what's really going down.

  • Fortunately, unfortunately, the reason

  • I'm even here talking to you all about this

  • is because the nation is divided,

  • and that's the whole story about The Truth.

  • So The Truth, this was inspired by my life story.

  • All that soup that came together,

  • that formed me, how I look at the world today,

  • I poured it all into here.

  • I was born in Muskegon, Michigan,

  • and I grew up in an all Black neighborhood

  • up until about the age of four or five.

  • Then my parents moved me into all white neighborhood.

  • Boom.

  • I might as well have traveled from Jupiter to Mars.

  • When I was 15, I was in ninth grade, and I had this party.

  • I had my white friends over and, obviously, I

  • had my black friends.

  • You put on Parliament Funkadelic,

  • you put on The O'Jays.

  • Everything was cool with the Black folks,

  • but the white folks were bugging out like,

  • Jimmy, put on Led Zeppelin.

  • Where's Aerosmith?

  • So then, I'd have to go and switch it up.

  • Black friends, man, what's going on, dog?

  • Couldn't win.

  • So hey, I didn't have that many friends in the early going.

  • I had to entertain myself, take towels

  • and tie them around my neck and act like I was a superhero.

  • It was, kind of, dope.

  • And it spawned a lot of creativity.

  • Growing up, I didn't really have any Black superheroes,

  • except for my dad, and my mom, and my cousin.

  • He was cool.

  • He had a big Afro.

  • He was dope.

  • So they were superheroes to me.

  • Back then I just wanted to see myself in a comic.

  • And I figured if I wanted to see myself,

  • there had to be other kids that wanted to see themselves too.

  • All of those experiences led to what I

  • ended up putting into the book.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • Now, you need a bad guy, right?

  • Bad guys got to be formidable, and the bad guy's got to be

  • just as dope as the good guy.

  • So we've got these rich, old dudes who

  • are pulling all the strings and profiting, kind of like what

  • you got going on today, and these hate

  • crusader figure guys, you know.

  • The dudes that control the world.

  • They figure out they're being played,

  • and then they turn into the big bad guy, Toxic.

  • This thing with four heads and acid vomit.

  • It just jacks people up, and that's what lies are,

  • it's poison.

  • It goes back since the beginning of time,

  • people who just spread misinformation, spread

  • hate, knowing it's not true.

  • And our hero Freeman, he was flawed and misguided too.

  • He fell for it.

  • And when he became The Truth, he could see clearer,

  • so he made sure everybody else could see clearly too.

  • Once they saw the truth, they realize

  • they've been played for fools.

  • So they rallied together, and instead of fighting