Seeing Ourselves in Animation

I hosted a room in Clubhouse called “Seeing Ourselves in Animation” with Robert Rush. In the room, we discussed the struggle to see ourselves represented in animation.

We quickly earned social support from Matthew A. Cherry and the incomparable voiceover legend, Cree Summer. Hundreds of people joined in our conversation which went for HOURS. The spontaneous drop-in audience included Black nomination fans, influencers and animators, and production employees from Disney, Dreamworks. Other guests included motion actor Benjamin Abiola, “Spooky Dreams” creator Zae Jordan, early NFT creator Ish Milly.

The "Seeing Ourselves in Animation" Clubhouse chatroom displays several icons of popular black cartoon characters.

Somewhere in the middle of the convo, we started PTRing profile pictures of our favorite Black animated characters, including Penny Proud from “The Proud Family,” Huey, and Riley Freeman from “The Boondocks.” This launched a hilarious debate about some racially ambiguous characters like Mr. Krabs from “Spongebob” and Uniqua from “The Backyardigans.” My vote is that they’re Black.

The "Seeing Ourselves in Animation" Clubhouse chatroom displays several icons of popular black cartoon characters.

We discussed who are our favorite characters were over time, how studios can improve employee diversity and inclusion, the first time we truly felt represented, and what we hope to create in animation moving forward – this convo has inspired me to launch my career in voiceover and there’s no telling what the next year will bring!

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