Flat White

Cartoon lives matter

28 June 2020

4:54 PM

28 June 2020

4:54 PM

Hollywood animators were thrown into chaos last week when white actors said they would no longer voice coloured characters.

Actors providing voiceovers for black characters from cartoons such as Family Guy and Central Park quit their roles in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

White actor Seymore Virtue, who voices a popular black cartoon character, told reporters: “Black Lives Matter and that includes black cartoon lives.

“I love playing the role, but unless animators use different coloured pencils, I cannot continue to be his voice.”

White actress Mia Snowflake said she had been wrong to accept the voiceover job as Sissy, a black girl, on the animated TV show Loud Mouth.

“When I agreed to do the show it never occurred to me to ask whether they’d be using a black pencil to draw my character,” she told her Instagram followers.

“I now realise that was a big mistake. But I want to assure people that I will be more thoughtful about which colours are used to shade any future characters I play.

“I am so very sorry. Black cartoons matter.”


When asked if she was demeaning black people by comparing them to a fictional cartoon character, Ms Snowflake said: “I commit to educating myself. I want to learn and grow. No justice, no peace. We’re all in this together. Stay home, save lives.”

In a joint statement posted on Twitter, “Loud Mouth” creators said they supported Snowflake’s decision and planned to either recast the role with a black actor or use completely different pencils.

“Casting a mixed-race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the black experience that we are trying to caricature.”

Meanwhile, white actress Dimity Wit said she had mixed feelings from the moment she agreed to provide the voice for a black cartoon character.

“I knew the animation was sketchy,” she said. “The last thing I want is to be drawn as a racist.

“I am happy to relinquish the role to someone whose skin colour better matches the animator’s illustrations.”

All of this raised immediate problems for producers of The Simpsons, most of whose characters are yellow.

“We’ve got to find a bunch of yellow people or a bunch of new pencils,” chief animator Sketch Freely said.

But industry insiders were quick to insist that the whole affair was unnecessary.

“Instead of quitting they could have Googled ‘acting’.” a source said.

Hollywood executives moved quickly to assure viewers that the Black Lives Matter movement should not affect other cartoon characters.

“Just because he’s not a dog doesn’t mean Seth Rogen can’t do the voice for Brian the dog on Family Guy,” a senior animator said.

“And just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean Nancy Cartwright can’t do the voiceover for Bart Simpson.

“People need to remember that cartoons aren’t actually real unless the characters are black, that is.”

Illustration: Fox/Express Illustration.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.


Show comments
Close