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CULTURE

New Hulu Series ‘Woke’ Inspired by Racial Profiling from Police

A new comedy series from Hulu snatches a buzzword of our times—”Woke”—tackling racial inequality that’s partly inspired by police harassment.

Lamorne Morris (“New Girl”) stars as a Keef Knight, a self-identified non-controversial black cartoonist on the verge of mainstream success who starts being confronted about racial inequality by animated inanimate objects—shortly after his first racist experience with San Francisco police officers. The incident changes him and he becomes “woke”.

According to Hulu, “Woke” is inspired by the life and work of African-American artist Keith Knight. Known for his comic strips such as “The K Chronicles” and “The Knight Life”, the award-winning artist often tackles political, social, and racial issues in his work.

“I have been doing comics on police brutality, but once it happens it to you, it’s different — it’s intense,” Knight said. “It made me double and triple down on the work I was doing.”

“We tell the story of this one man’s journey through his PTSD and through this trauma and how it feels for the individual,” added executive producer and showrunner Jay Dyer (“Californication”).

Specifically, “Woke” will depict how police harassment and brutality can traumatize a black man who has never experienced it before—and who previously navigated the world freely and openly—often feeling “not black enough” because his interests aren’t conventionally “black.”

This kind of contradiction will be invaluable for audiences to see onscreen: the irony and hypocrisy of racial stereotypes—and how they foster ignorance towards people who are not what we think they are at all.

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Morris told Entertainment Weekly that the new series reveals how “we are a product of our environment, and if you grow up a certain way, you grow up a certain way, but then every once in a while you gotta just stop, and shift, and make it a point to see things differently.”

Also starring Sasheer Zamata (“Saturday Night Live”), Blake Anderson, and comedian T. Murph, Morris explained how the series will give a voice to the previously “voiceless”.

With the involvement of such comedic talent, the new series promises to have a great balance of serious, timely issues such as racial injustice—as well as entertaining humor.

“The show is an extension of my comics,” said Knight. “I use humor to address serious issues. The cartoons bring people in. We make you laugh and when you’re not looking we punch you in the face with something hardcore.”

The series was completed before the pandemic and George Floyd’s death, but with the topics it explores it’s certainly relevant at this moment in time. The trailer was released earlier this month and has already garnered over 8 million views.

“Woke” will premiere all of its first eight episodes on Sept. 9 on Hulu.

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