This “What if Character was in This Scene/Episode/Story” meme originally belongs to MagicalKeyPizzaDan and is dedicated to all of my friends, fellow artists, and fans who are fans of Charles S. Dutton and his portrayal of Charles “Roc” Emerson from the television dramedy Roc as well as The Splendid Seven consisting of Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, Shuran, Hakkaku, Ginta, Ayame, and Shunran. Sit back, relax, and revel in how Roc would be quite happy to have Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, Shuran, Hakkaku, Ginta, Ayame, and Shunran as his students in one of Baltimore’s predominantly Black American public school in 1994.
Growing up as a millennial, the only occasion where I have seen Charles S. Dutton do his thing was in his portrayal of the main villain Captain Jonas Cutter in the Are You Afraid of the Dark two-parter episode “The Tale of Cutter’s Treasure”, in which he proved himself to be a formidable force of nature as that particular ghost or villain of the week. It was not until this year that I stumbled upon Roc the sitcom/dramedy series he starred in alongside Ella Joyce, Rocky Carroll, and Carl Gordon on YouTube that I started to become invested in this particularly underrated and rather obscure show which aired on Fox from 1991 to 1994. What made me utterly intrigued with Roc was how it did not hold back in tackling serious issues occurring in the United States of America, especially among Black Americans. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air may have tackled those issues, but Roc tackled them in a more elevated, more nuanced, and more unrelenting manner. Roc dealt with gang violence, violence among the youth especially with guns and other armed weapons, drug abuse, the consequences of drug abuse during childbirth, and the problems occurring with Black Americans especially those who are on the poverty line. One episode that continues to stay relevant in these terrible times when death and violence are the two heartbeats that have become second nature in this world is “Terence Got His Gun”. If you have watched that episode, which I dare not spoil, you will realise how much it hits close to home, specifically with all of the school shootings as well as the recent shootings in Uvalde, Texas and in Chicago, Illinois. At the end of that episode and before the credits rolled, Charles S. Dutton himself gave an impassioned public service announcement of how violence among the youth has been wreaking havoc worse than what the Ku Klux Klan, 300 years of slavery, and racism could ever accomplish, thus making a plea for us viewers to stop this senseless violence. This PSA with all of the adolescent men and women seated and standing up was not only poignant but also compelled me to concoct this idea I have for Sesshoumaru, Shuran, Inuyasha, Hakkaku, Ginta, Ayame, and Shunran, especially when they were still young children.
I would like you to take yourselves back to January 4, 1994, which was the time this episode aired on Fox, and specifically locate yourselves in Baltimore, Maryland. During this period in time, we have 12-year-old Sesshoumaru, 11-year-olds Shuran and Inuyasha, 10-year-olds Hakkaku and Ginta, 8-year-old Ayame, and 6-year-old Shunran being enrolled at a predominantly Black American public school. It is not just the children that are in Baltimore, but also their parental figures, for Ayame’s and Shunran’s grandfather The Wolf Elder, Sesshoumaru’s and Inuyasha father Toga as well as their mother InuKimi, and Shuran’s, Hakkaku’s, and Ginta’s mother Izayoi are respectively heading a Boxing gym, a Karate dojo, an Aikido dojo, and a Kung Fu Kwoon for disadvantaged and troubled youths. Aside from Sesshoumaru, Shuran, Inuyasha, Hakkaku, Ginta, Ayame, and Shunran matriculating at the public school, there is also a host of Japanese youths who attend the same school they are in such as 11-year-old Baki Hanma, his adopted brothers 11-year-old Ryoma Sakamoto, 10-year-old Takeshi Sendo, 10-year-old Kiichi “Kiibo” Miyazawa, and 9-year-old Ippo Makunouchi; and even 4-year-old Megumi Minami plus her 4-year-old adopted younger sister Kaoru Ichinose who were in the Pre-Kindergarten department of the school. It took time for the seven young Japanese Yokai fighters and the seven young Japanese human aspiring combatants to be accustomed to the Black American school system, but they made friends in the children who found them very interesting.
Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha demonstrated their Karate moves in their father’s rented dojo after school and also had sparring sessions with Baki, Ryoma, Takeshi, Kiibo, and Ippo, especially since their fellow classmates were interested in learning Karate regardless if it was Shotokan, Kyokushin, Shito-Ryu or Goju-Ryu.
Shuran demonstrated his wrestling moves with Baki and Kiibo at the gymnasium, with the boys wanting to be as strong and powerful as he is.
Hakkaku and Ginta were avid soccer players with Ryoma and had games with their new friends.
Ayame, being the tomboy, always had fun sparring in boxing with Takeshi and Ippo, which also inspired her new girl friends to take up a combat sport when they grow up.
Shunran, as the youngest and the most feminine, always enjoyed having interpretive dance and Capoeira sessions with Megumi and Kaoru alongside their new girl friends who also demonstrated their hip hop moves and beats.
The children clearly demonstrate that it does not matter where they come from or the colour of their skin, they have each other as friends and would end up having a great friendship as well as comradeship that would last for generations to come.
Roc Emerson, Charles S. Dutton’s character, would fit into this narrative as a Black History, Sociology, and Literature teacher at the school. Sure, he still does his job as a garbageman supporting his wife Eleanor, their infant son, his father, and his younger brother, but he would find a higher purpose in being a teacher to not only teenagers in high school but also pre-teens in late grade school to early middle school and children in elementary school as well as kindergarten. We the viewers have heard him talk about Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and all of the strife Black America had to undergo in order to obtain equal rights. Therefore, Roc being in a school setting, despite being an unusual choice for a teacher, would give him the opportunity to prove that he can adapt to his new and interesting environment as a means to understand his young students and open their minds to the realities of everything they have to face and will end up facing as they grow up.
Roc would enlighten his young students, especially Sesshoumaru, Shuran, Inuyasha, Hakkaku, Ginta, Ayame, and Shunran, that the world is not always going to be full of fun and games. There will be occasions where they would end up facing some harsh realities and challenges that would help them to grow up to be the responsible people they ought to be. They would even learn from each other in deep and meaningful ways, especially when it comes to ways of what the youth could do to prevent violence from being incited. As black belts in Karate, Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha would always reserve their sparring inside the dojo, for their father always reminds them that any form of fighting outside the dojo is forbidden, and would even state that their father always reminded them that Karate should be used only in self-defence, not for showing off. Shuran, Hakkaku, Ginta, Ayame, and Shunran additionally state that they always practice their respective martial arts as a way of life and never to incite any form of violence against anybody.
As Roc even brings up the topic of gun violence, he would even give this sobering reminder that young lives have been lost due to all of this senseless violence. He is fully aware that Sesshoumaru, Shuran, Inuyasha, Hakkaku, Ginta, Ayame, Shunran, and all of their new friends are either trained martial artists or have been training in martial arts, which he believes is great. However, regardless of what martial arts they implement in real-life situations against those brazen enough to endanger their lives, it is still not enough to solve the bigger problem of mass gun violence rampant in the United States let alone the world.
If what he said was not enough, he would even state that anything and everything starts within their homes, especially if their home is full of abuse, neglect, indifference, and a lack of guidance, tough yet unconditional love, compassion, and a great sense of direction from their families. Furthermore, domestic violence tends to be a lot more hidden and subtle than anybody can give credit for because of how the abuser tends to hide their activities and their deeds from unsuspecting eyes. Roc may not have the ultimate solution himself, but what he could suggest to all of his students is to talk about their problems and feelings to a grown-up they trust and love, help each other out in times of trial, strife or joy, and to start using words of encouragement, compassion, and understanding, not with animosity, discrimination, and fear because these are what incite violence among people to be sown.
All of Roc’s students, especially Sesshoumaru, Shuran, Inuyasha, Hakkaku, Ginta, Ayame, and Shunran, would not only learn about historical facts and figures revolving around Black America but also the harsh realities communities have to endure on a daily basis.
Every lesson taught by Roc would also compel Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, Shuran, Hakkaku, Ginta, Ayame, and Shunran to talk about it to their new friends and, most of all, to their parents. The Wolf Elder, Toga, InuKimi, and Izayoi can also understand what their children are going through and what they have been learning from Roc’s valuable lessons.
The Wolf Elder is particularly sad and disgusted with how young people in particular are seduced by the appeal of drugs, crime, and violence as a means to prove themselves to be hip and cool but are wasting their own lives for something meaningless and something that would make them end up in trouble with the law.
Toga has seen young boys wasting their own lives on petty theft, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, substance abuse, gang violence, and sexually taking advantage of girls without their consent as if though it was the natural thing to do, and it breaks his heart with how they could be like this but also pities them because their homes are deficient in proper structure, healthy boundaries, unconditional love, and boundless protection from all ills.
Both InuKimi and Izayoi are deeply disturbed with how young girls seem to use their bodies in a manner devoid of self respect, dignity, and integrity just to acquire sexual pleasure from older men as a means to make a quick buck instead of investing their time and energy to better themselves for a life that can promise them a brighter future.
Every young person who enters The Wolf Elder’s boxing gym, Toga’s Karate dojo, InuKimi’s Aikido dojo, and Izayoi’s Kung Fu Kwoon has encountered gang violence, abusive households, crime beyond their wildest imaginations, and consistent trauma, turmoil, and misguidance that have been plaguing their better judgment of what is right and wrong. They too have also become sick to their stomachs of the crimes committed among the youth in terms of gang violence and murder that they would even have this to say to Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, Shuran, Hakkaku, Ginta, Ayame, and Shunran. In a perfect world, they would love to solve all of these issues occurring with gang violence and youth being seduced into a life of crime, thus creating peace among communities. However, not every single problem can be solved with wishes and a drop of a hat. What needs to be done is to ensure that their home is one of unity, tolerance, understanding, togetherness, and peace, for there is too much animosity that this sin-sick world could ever bear. It also goes to show that violence being solved with violence can only exacerbate the problem which they do not want.
If The Splendid Seven’s semester abroad at a predominantly Black American public school under Roc Emerson’s teaching has taught them something, it has to be that it is up to them how they want to live their lives not only as martial artists but also as people. This has also made them promise never to use martial arts for showing off but use it as a way of life.
I hope you all enjoyed this, and I will see you in the next submission. Take care, stay safe, and please keep the peace, everybody.
Roc belongs to Stan Daniels.
Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, Shuran, Hakkaku, Ginta, Ayame, and Shunran from Inuyasha belong to Rumiko Takahashi and Sunrise.