No One Can Ever Replace John Witherspoon's Grandpa on The Boondocks, but We Wouldn't Be Mad If Jenifer Lewis Stepped In

Jenifer Lewis attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo: Paras Griffin (Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)

We lost many things when we learned of John Witherspoon’s death. One of those things was the ability to see him reprise his role as Grandad in the upcoming revival of The Boondocks.

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In addition to the series’ stars Riley and Huey, Grandad became one of the most popular characters on the acclaimed series, created by Aaron McGruder (adapted from his comic strip of the same name). It’s still tough to believe Withspoon almost didn’t even take the role, at first. We’re glad he did, though. But now, we’re faced with having to deal with a noticeable hole in the series (and in our hearts).

Grandad’s shoes will be incredibly tough to fill, and frankly, we’re not really here for a replacement. However, performance artist Durand Burarr offered a substitution that definitely made me raise my eyebrow.

“Picture it: Granddad passes away in The Boondocks opening of the 5th season and the boys are sent to live with Granddad’s sister: played by Jenifer Lewis. She’s the ONLY one I can think to keep that same energy,” he wrote on his social media accounts.

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Okay, points were made. I’m listening!

No one can chew food the way Witherspoon did and, in that same vein, no one can turn a phrase the way Lewis can. She certainly has that unique energy that no one can replicate. So, if we had to insert a grandparental substitution, Lewis would certainly be the only answer.

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And yes, you have heard Lewis’ unmatched voice on The Boondocks before, as she portrayed Geraldine in the “Early Bird Special” episode and Boss Willona on the “Breaking Grandad” episode during the series’ fourth season. But, of course, it would be an entirely different level if she became a recurring character as a tribute to Grandad.

So, what does Lewis think about all of this (a question no one, to this day, has ever asked Ja Rule, for the record)?

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“Thank you one and all. I’ll check into this,” Lewis responded, per Okayplayer. “It would be fun. I miss my John Witherspoon. He gave us so much, so much love and laughter, y’all.”

Lewis is on board! And she is “checking into this!” This is not a drill!

I echo Burarr’s question and must ask: Mr. McGruder, what’s good?!

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About the author

Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.