Friday, February 18, 2005

Things To Do For Black History Month Day 18

Things To Do For Black History Month Day 18: Watch Some Black Cartoons

The history of African-Americans in animation isn't pretty. Many old cartoons such as Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, and the MGM cartoons of Tex Avery feature blackface gags. These gags are extremely stereotypical and very offensive. Most of the "Censored 11" were cartoons with stereotypical black portrayals as seen in this link. There is only one of these old cartoons that I think people should see and that is Robert Clampett's "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs." This is a cartoon considered to be one of the best ever made. It is downright offensive (and not just to black people) but apart from the stereotypes, it's fast-paced, lively, and in some cases, still funny. Check out this page for an article on the short and this page to see a clip of it along with other racist cartoons.

Despite the history of racist portrayals, there are now some quality animated shows (and movies) that revolve around black characters. Here are a few I reccommend:

Bebe's Kids: Not for little children (it's PG-13), this animated feature is based on the comedy of the late Robin Harris. It features Faizon Love playing Robin, who ends up going to an amusement park with the woman he likes...and Bebe's Kids. It has quite a few laughs, although the music is only so-so.

The Proud Family: This is a great series that's getting its own movie on Disney Channel later this year. Bolstered by a strong voice cast that includes Tommy Davidson, One on One's Kyla Pratt, and Family Matters' JoMarie Payton Noble, this show is very funny. It also has had some great guest stars including Steve Harvey, Alicia Keys, and Smokey Robinson just to name a few.

Happily Ever After-Fairy Tales For Every Child: This HBO series took classic fairy tales and gave them ethnic spins. It's not exclusively a "black" show, but it featured some fun urban takes on fairy tales.

Static Shock: This show is probably the first (and only) show about a black superhero. This teen hero has the power of static electricity and protects the city of Dakota along with his best friend Richie. Based on the comic book, this show has dealt with social issues in addition to standard superhero plots. It's a fun, action-packed, well-written show that's not cheesy.

The future of black animation looks bright with The Boondocks getting an animated version this fall and Andre 3000 (of OutKast) working on a show for Cartoon Network.

2 comments:

  1. You forgot about old school Kid N Play and Hammerman. Hammerman! It's Hammerman!

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  2. I have no idea it's that month. Haven't been watching TV for a long time. I better finish my next drawing and post it as soon as possible.

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