Home Entertainment The Simpsons, Big Mouth and more recasting more race-appropriate voice actors for POC animated roles

The Simpsons, Big Mouth and more recasting more race-appropriate voice actors for POC animated roles

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Following weeks of protests around the world focused on the injustices of black people, several white voice actors will no longer be voicing the animated characters they made famous, making way for actors of colour to voice them instead.

First came word from the producers of The Simpsons who announced that they will no longer be letting white actors voice POC characters. The show has come under fire in the past for actor Hank Azaria voicing Indian-American immigrant Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. Azaria left the show earlier this year after voicing that character (and many others) for the past 31 years and now the show will look to replace other character’s voices with more race appropriate actors as well.

This announcement doesn’t just affect the character of Apu, but also Officer Lou, Carl, Dr Hibbert, Judge Snyder, Drederick Tatum, Bernice Hibbert, and Janey who were all voiced by white actors. With many of these being smaller roles, The Simpsons initially had these actors provide the voices for many different characters. With them stepping down, this will mean not only changing who provides the voices to these characters fans have come to know, but also an increase in the number of voice actors they employ to bring the many episodes to life. It will be interesting to see how fans of the show respond to these changes in the coming seasons.

It’s not just The Simpsons that is taking this step though, as both Jenny Slate (who voiced biracial character Missy on Netflix’s Big Mouth) and Kristen Bell (who also voice a biracial character Apple TV+’s Central Park) have announced that they are resigning from their respective voice roles to allow for actors of colour to voice them instead. Similarly, actor Mike Henry posted on social media that he was stepping down from voicing a Black character on Fox’s Family Guy called Cleveland Brown.

I think these are welcome changes in an industry which has for far too long allowed white people to voice these characters and thereby reduced the number of roles available for non-white actors. It shows an industry starting to address some of their bad practices from the past and will hopefully lead to improved diversity across all shows involved and animated shows in future.

Last Updated: June 29, 2020

7 Comments

  1. SagatatiaRZA

    June 29, 2020 at 13:25

    Good shit, but Missy is bi-racial and half Jewish where Jenny Slate is Jewish. I wonder if this sets a precedent for that you not only have to be a POC to play a POC character but also have to be the right heritage? Curious to see where this ball rolls.

    Reply

  2. DarthofZA

    June 29, 2020 at 13:44

    This is awesome.

    But what is even better about this, is as of now, this is being driven by the voice actors themselves. There has been calls for the Union to make it official policy, but there are different opinions as to how it should be implemented, and if it should have a time limit or not.

    But the voice actors in the industry are recognizing the problem, and taking the actions themselves, in a way that hurts them financially. This is really good.

    Reply

    • Surprise Depression

      June 30, 2020 at 04:17

      This is so idiotic

      With your rationale we wouldn’t have James Earl Jones doing the voice for Darth Vader.. stop this immediately! Enough of this PC garbage.

      Reply

  3. Son of Banana Jim

    June 30, 2020 at 01:51

    So, segregation is a thing again, only white people can voice white characters and only black and Asian ones should voice theirs, respectively? I’m sure Oom Hendrik is smiling from his grave right about now.

    Wasn’t that the whole theoretical point of Apartheid? Creating parallel “countries” with individuals EXCLUSIVELY defined by their race, and the work they could and couldn’t do?

    Shucks, we even had the tri-parliament system in South Africa, with separate “parliaments” for whites, coloureds and Indians- with black Africans supposedly in control of their own states/homelands. Of course, it was a sham, just like this nonsense we’re seeing now.

    What happened to a voice actor just portraying a character and whether he or she or xer is white, black, arab etc. BEING completely immaterial to whether or not they can do an excellent job? It’s literally like society is regressing before our very eyes…

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      June 30, 2020 at 09:41

      I just remembered, Bart is voiced by a woman. But Nancy isn’t stepping down right? I mean while we’re busy shaking the tree.

      Reply

  4. Iskape

    June 30, 2020 at 07:46

    My personal opinion: leave existing characters as they are, but just consider using a more racially diverse cast in characters for new series or if new characters are introduced to existing series. The general idea I would think is that a person of one race can better portray an animated character of the same race in a production. That would make sense technically. I mean you don’t see a Black man in live TV being voiced by a White man. So in the bigger scheme of things, it does make sense.

    Reply

  5. Tbone187

    July 1, 2020 at 12:41

    The left is gone bonkers!

    I’m a person of colour but find all this over the top. Race is only an issue if you make it one imo!

    Do these activists not realise these are actual people being denied their livelihoods just coz they not comfortable with certain truths? The hypocrisy is astounding at times. Where does it end?Where do you draw the line?

    POC need to also come to terms with the fact that white people have build civilisations with the tech,innovation and industry that we all now enjoy together and can be actively involved in moving forward.

    It seems almost too convenient to to ignore the good parts and focus on the bad parts like slavery, etc.

    It’s a deep rooted jealousy and pride I feel that eventually undermines everything.

    Reply

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