17 Times Animated Characters Were Actually Cast Appropriately
Susie Carmichael = true icon.
Recently, numerous white celebrities and voice actors – including
Kristen Bell, Jenny Slate, and Mike Henry – have publicly stepped down from voicing animated characters of colour, or have expressed regret for doing so in the past.
Netflix/20th Television/Fox / Via Buzzfeed
statement on Instagram, Kristen said "casting a mixed race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience... I am happy to relinquish this role to someone who can give a much more accurate portrayal."
Representation still has a long way to go, but there are some animations that have been trying to do it right from the start. Here are 17 times cartoons sought to accurately represent their characters by casting people of colour...
Aisha Tyler as Lana Kane in
Jon Kopaloff, FX / Via Getty Images
Friends alum Aisha has played special agent Lana Kane in Archer since the show's inception in 2009. Of the role she has said, "she's a blast, I love playing her. I love the stuff that's written for me and I haven't really had any complaints about it."
Shameik Moore as Miles Morales in
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Charley Gallay, Sony Pictures Releasing / Via Getty Images for Netflix
Actor, singer, and dancer Shameik was cast to play Miles, a half Puerto Rican half African American teen living in Brooklyn, back in 2017 after filmmakers saw his performance in the movie
Dope. Shameik has said he is proud of his involvement in the film, which is the first of its kind to follow a biracial superhero.
Cree Summer as Susie Carmichael in
Alberto E. Rodriguez, Nickelodeon / Via Getty Images
Legendary voice actor Cree played the part of Susie in the show, all three
Rugrats movies, and the spin-off series, All Grown Up! She also voiced Miranda in Nickelodeon's As Told by Ginger and Princess Kida for the Disney franchise Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Cree has said of Susie, she is a "black character, a true African American character... unapologetic, beautiful, proud."
Aziz Ansari as Darryl in
Kevin Winter, Fox / Via Getty Images
Parks and Recreation breakout star Aziz has played student and video game enthusiast Darryl since his first appearance in season two of the show. When Bob meets Darryl at the arcade he asks about his race, but Darryl doesn't clarify this. H. Jon Benjamin, the voice of Bob, would go on appear in Aziz's netflix show Master of None as the character, Benjamin!
Estelle as Garnet in
Bennett Raglin, Cartoon Network / Via Getty Images for ESSENCE/
British singer and actor Estelle has been praised for her vocal performance as Garnet, a holographic alien being from the cartoon
Steven Universe. Although Garnet's race is never specified, Estelle has shared that Garnet was created especially for her, and inspired by her character, voice, mannerisms, and music.
Stephanie Beatriz as Gina Cazador in
Jon Kopaloff, Netflix / Via Getty Images
Gina was a recurring character in seasons five and six of the show, during which time the character was part of a powerful and nuanced #metoo type storyline in which she is assaulted on set by her boyfriend and co-star, BoJack. Stephanie, who is Argentine-American,
has said she loved bringing the character to life.
Coy Stewart as Benson in
Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts.
Frazer Harrison, Netflix / Via Getty Images
Based on a webcomic by Radford Sechrist,
Kipo hit screens earlier this year with Coy in the role of Benson, a happy go-lucky sixteen-year-old who is black and gay. Coy, who also raps as KOI and appeared in Logic's incredible 2017 music video for "1-800-273-8255", has said of Benson, "I’m proud of this one."
Angelica Ross as The Mayor in
Danger & Eggs.
Leon Bennett, Amazon Video / Via Getty Images for ESSENCE
Transgender icon and
Pose alum, Angelica, appeared as 'The Mayor' in the first and only season to date of Amazon's fabulously queer and super fun series Danger and Eggs. The series was co-created by trans author Shadi Petosky, and follows D.D. Danger (Aidy Bryant) and her best friend Phillip (Eric Knobel) on a series of wacky adventures.
Cristina Vee as Xochi Jalapeño in
Victor and Valentino.
Charley Gallay, Cartoon Network / Via Getty Images for Funimation
Prolific voice actor Cristina, who is of Mexican, Native American, and Lebanese ancestry, began voicing Xochi on the Latin-American series back in 2019.
Victor and Valentino creator Diego Molano has said of the show that he wanted to give Latinx kids a glimpse into their ancestry – "I want them to realize where they come from so they feel included."
Ming-Na Wen as Fa Mulan in
Amy Sussman, Buena Vista Pictures / Via Getty Images
Chinese-American actor Ming-Na was cast as Mulan in the BEST Disney film (don't @ me) after filmmakers heard her narration in the movie
The Joy Luck Club. She has said that her involvement in the movie allowed her to find the heroine in herself. Of the upcoming remake, Ming-Na also said "Disney did it right they first time and they'll do it right again."
Jamil Walker Smith as Gerald Johanssen in
Frazer Harrison, Nickelodeon / Via Getty Images
American actor Jamil provided the voice of Gerald for the series' entire original run as well as for the movie, in which he also voiced "Rasta Guy".
Reflecting on the part in 2017, Jamil said "the beautiful thing about this show is that it's cooler when I revisit it. It means more to me now than it did then. It's more relevant now than then. It's classic."
Priyanka Chopra as Ishani in
Theo Wargo, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Via Getty Images
The Indian actor, singer, and former Miss World was approached to play Ishani back in 2013. The character, who is a Pan-Asian champion from India, is also the love interest of main character Dusty.
Priyanka has said of the role: "it was really exciting for me. There was so much I could do and add and ad-lib... what this film teaches you is that all cultures can come together and get along."
Rickey D'Shon Collins as Vince LaSalle in
Chris Weeks/Liaison/Hulton Archive, Buena Vista Television / Via Getty Images
Rickey, who has also provided voices for shows such as
Happy Feet, Danny Phantom and Justice League, began playing Vince in 1997 and remained in the role until the series end in 2001. He also appeared in Recess: School's Out the movie.
Irene Bedard as Pocahontas in
Alberto E. Rodriguez, Buena Vista Pictures / Via Getty Images for Disney
Iñupiat actor Irene not only provided the voice of Pocahontas in the 1995 film and its sequel, but was also the physical model for the character! Irene
has said that voicing the character was life-changing, and has helped her to have a "long and blessed career".
Dionne Quan as Kimi Finster in
Frederick M. Brown, Nickeolodeon / Via Getty Images
Dionne made her film debut in
Rugrats in Paris: The Movie as Kimi. She also voiced her in the TV series, the subsequent movie Rugrats Go Wild, and the spin-off series All Grown Up! Dionne has also leant her voice to shows like The Fairly OddParents and Bratz. She is legally blind, and has admitted finding acting roles was tough. To accommodate her disability, Dionne has her scripts read to her or printed out in braille.
Tahj Mowry as Wade Load in
Jon Kopaloff, Disney Channel / Via Getty Images
Tahj played Wade, the ten year-old computer genius and Kim's techie for all four seasons of the show and for both TV movies. For the first movie,
Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time, "Future Wade" was voiced by the late great Michael Clarke Duncan.
Auliʻi Cravalho as Moana in
Rodin Eckenroth, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Via Getty Images
Disney auditioned many women throughout the Pacific Islands to find Auliʻi, who was only fifteen when she landed the role! As a Native Hawaiian speaker, she also provided the voice of Moana in the Hawaiian language version of the film!
Auliʻi has said "to know that I've made a difference in the lives of young girls and maybe have empowered them... that feels really amazing to me."
Have I missed anybody? Shout them out in the comments!
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