Friday, September 11, 2009

Ok so Elmo is Black but guess who is white?

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor

I've just discovered that voice over actor of Cleveland from Family Guy is played by Mike Henry a white man. No there is not an obsession to research the racial identities of puppets and cartoons (click here: for Elmo's identity reveal) it just so happens that I came across another (cue music)- dun dun dun dun

REVEALED IDENTITY. Then again if I just paid attention to the credits this probably wouldn’t be such a revelation. But do you?

Anyhoo hoo to the hoo I'm not sure how I feel about Cleveland now. Interestingly enough when he was on Family Guy (a show that I love) I didn't think too much about the character. He’s the one “Black” friend. It’s a joke on top of a joke I get it. But to then hear that HE was the one getting his own show came as a surprise. I mean, who really cares about Cleveland? I had to this because we now have a Black president? Is this some kind of affirmative action protocol? If so this is a prime example of when it's a problem. Bottom line Cleveland is not the one to have his own show the paraplegic is more interesting.

Here's the problem. There is no point of reference to what kind of Black man Cleveland is. Does he eat fried chicken or turkey sandwiches? Does he drink 40ties or Budweiser? Does he celebrate Kwanzaa or Hanukah? I just don’t know. On his new show he has a two sons, one that look like a young Black replica of Peter, the father from Family Guy and the other son who is giving me a modern day Bebe's kid vibe. Oh and his wife is played by Sanaa Lathan. Who IS this family? There is no core or context it feels like white people dictating comedy for Black people and unfortunately the “white” humor (which let me remind you that I love) from Family Guy does not translate here annnnnd I can’t help but to think if a big part of that reason is because Cleveland is played by Mike Henry. It's not his fault I just don't think anyone thought this through...

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