Kerry Washintgon Sets the Internet Ablaze With Offer For New Role
Kerry Washington gets Twitter really excited as she expresses her animation interests, she has experience in voicing Shuri in the Black Panther animated series, as well as Natalie Certain in Cars 3, while white actors like Kristen Bell and Jenny Slate are leaving roles where they play Black characters and noting that Black Actors should play Black characters. Plus, Wendell Pierce campaigns to play Cleveland Brown, do we really need to fight racial equality in cartoons?
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Kerry Washington created a flurry of excitement when she announced via twitter that she is available for an animated role –
“Dear animators looking for black voices…I’m avail.”
The tweet received nearly 30,000 retweets and over 200,000 likes.
Thousands of producers and writers were in the comments section offering Washington roles in everything from Anime to animated musicals. The comments section also included a plethora of Black voice over actors dropping their reels and information, insisting that if Kerry isn’t available or affordable to everyone they would be.
Kerry Washington is no stranger to animated voice acting, she played Princess Shuri in the Black Panther animated series as well as Natalie Certain in the Cars 3 feature film.
In recent weeks Black voices animating Black characters have gained traction as shows have seen white actors leave shows where they played Black or biracial characters. Jenny Slate began the wave as she was widely quoted in a lengthy statement frequently reduced to, “Black characters should be voiced by Black actors.”
If you comb through the statement, it seems Slate has come to more realizations as the Black Lives Matter movement has created a sort of social awareness and racial awakening among some white people. She outlines how her original justifications of playing the role of a biracial preteen “existed as an example of white privilege…I was engaging in an act of erasure of Black people.” She goes on to say, “ending my portrayal of Missy is one step in a life long process of uncovering the racism in my actions.”
She was immediately followed by Kristen Bell of Central Park and its producers agreed the same for all future castings of the show. Later in the week Mike Henry left his role as Cleveland Brown (whom he played for 20 years) on Family Guy, and The Simpsons committed having its characters of color being voiced by people of color.
Wendell Pierce of The Wire fame followed that up by announcing via twitter that he is looking to fill Mike Henry’s long time voice role of Cleveland Brown, which he just left. Pierce wrote, “I am publicly starting a campaign to voice the role myself on The Cleveland Show.” It has 6,000 retweets and 29K likes. Less support than Washington’s appeal, but that could be attributed to The Cleveland Show being cancelled 7 years ago, and it receiving blowback from the Black community for what some perceived as its problematic portrayal of Black people.
Yes, Black actors should be played by Black people. Isn’t anything less voice minstrelsy? There are nuances and integral parts of a story that can only be interpreted by someone who is Black – whatever and however wide ranging that Black experience is.
The frustration with white actors is that in so many areas they have been able to appeal universally and play any person they wanted, while that same luxury is not offered to Black artists. It may seem small or silly to some, but the point of deconstructing white supremacy everywhere we see it, is to highlight the voices of African American people. To actually hear Black people, to feel their experiences, to listen. If we can’t see to do that in an art form where voice is key, aren’t we just participating in the structures that leave those actors on mute?
We here at AfterBuzz TV are in full support of the Black Lives Matter movement, so please continue to tune in to our network daily for more coverage. If you love this article, make sure to share it with a friend!
Kay Montgomery is a host at Afterbuzz TV who loves sitcoms and is currently embroiled in a vicious debate on Bracketology. She is A Different World devotee and although she has a masters degree in Education from The University of Redlands, she would have given anything to go to fictional Hillman College.
Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence
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