Bruce W. Smith, Angelique Parent, Callie Crossley discussed on The Takeaway
With you on the take away. I'm Callie Crossley in for Tan Xena. We've been talking about some of the achievements of black animators and voice actors this year and the work that still needs to be done to make the field more inclusive. I've been speaking with animators Bruce W. Smith and Ian Jones, Corti and voice actor Angelique parent. And actors of color are also overlooked. When it comes to voicing characters like aliens or mystical creatures that don't have race in animated shows. Do producers need to be more imaginative when it comes to casting those roles? Yeah, absolutely. On the shore, like co executive produced Steven Universe. The main cast are almost all aliens and we went to We ended up casting majority women of color, and it was just because these were the voices that we hadn't heard before, And I really would love people to be a little more open to, uh Finding those voices because you know for me, it's less about the idea of matching character, skin color to the actor, but actual like economic justice, I want women of color and actors of color to get paid and get respect and have prominence within the industry. A man. So so Bruce when you worked on 2000 nine's the Princess and the Frog, which had Disney's first black prison princess, But more than 10 years later, Pixar has its first black lead, character and soul. Are you disappointed that has taken so long to see more black animated lead characters? Absolutely. I mean, you know that That's a whole generation almost passing by before anyone thinks of Hey, you know, let's take this film that we've got right now and sort of re cast the lead, you know, and let you know an African American enjoy. And participate. I mean, that's just been the whole things that have been in this business is like it's like we love. This business is after American artists, but we want to participate like we want to be involved in all of the flights of fancy. You know, um, I I've worked on so many projects that did not involve me from an animation standpoint, but I had to put myself in the character, you know? So so actually, it's helped me as an animator. So you know, you know, separate myself. And my skill set from the crowd because of the things that I do as an African American to put in the character, But that still doesn't necessarily reflect the character this actually on the screen as being a person of color, and that's sort of been an issue with me for a long time. Mm hmm. Angelique When voice actors of color are cast, it's often relatively big name actors who get the part. Are you hoping to see Hollywood move away from reliance on big names in order to give other voice actors like yourself a chance? I would love that. The jobs that I have auditioned for that were specifically black female characters or male often went to like Regina King Sonal, a thin needle along But the thing that I can bring, I cannot bring what Regina King does. But what I can do is act. It also played a grandma and I could also play a role. Oh, I can't do you know I can do different things. I'm not. I don't do what they do, but they don't do what I do. So when you, CASS and I lengthen Who was a fabulous ale is black actress. You just get that and you don't get the levels that you're going to get with someone who does this? The way I do and who relishes it. So what do you think Animation studios need to do in order to make the animation industry more welcoming to animators of color and voice actors of color and I'll start with you in for me and you know, this just goes for everything. It's really just about. Being aware of what's going on. For instance, when I created my show, Okay, Kayo, let's be Heroes for Cartoon Network. Was only the second black creator for the network. And the first black creator was Andre 3000. So, uh, you know, he got to come in the door completely different way than I did. Think that studios need to be aware that you know talent, people of color. You know they're rare in this industry, but it doesn't mean we don't have the talent. They need to just be aware and Cast their net a little wider, and I really hope that that's gonna happen more as we get more people being able to come to prominence, you know, using the Internet, and it's hopefully easier to find those people. So, Bruce, What about you? What do you think? Ooh. Oh, man. Yeah, I kind of agree with him. I mean, I think it's really about opportunity. I think you know for us to have the opportunity. Will help paint and put the industry on course and on par for What we in the foreseeable future, because listen, one thing you can't deny and life is that us? We is a black people. We drive culture way. Just do so that always when you see our our stories being told, And when you drop us in movies, it makes those movies that much more interesting. You know, because of the language that we bring the swag that we bring those things that unnecessary. Those things that they look for. So you know, moving forward producers always. You should think about that. I weigh in like this. This is an easy work to be more inclusive. It's going to take a couple of extra steps for this to happen, and it could be something simple as grabbing six of the best little drawers. And you know, whatever neighborhood bringing them in and mentoring them for a year. Um, it could be something that small, just mentoring aspiring. Uh, you know, animators, voice actors or could be a larger program where we go. Hey, let's invest in the future off this industry. But We know that there's the talent out there. But the talent has to be given the opportunity and people need to be open to opening that door toe allow other faces, other ideas and other types of creativity in And this year you worked on a serious of anti racism shorts for Cartoon network is animation, a good medium for addressing the seriously issues of the kind we've been talking about. Absolutely. And, you know, I'll say it a million times. Animation is uniquely positioned to be, uh, medium that expresses and teaches empathetic skills and gets characters across. You know, at the end of the day animation is, you know, it's like a century old magic trick. We're basically forcing your brain toe. Look at these images. Hear these sounds hear the sound effects and believe that that's a real person and a real character. The reason why animation is so powerful is because that power comes from you, the viewer, you put the all those things together in your brain and you create the characters as well as us giving you the material to do so. Animation is incredibly powerful in that way, and I hope more people pay attention and thank you so much. We're gonna have to leave it there, and it was the light talking to all of you. Bruce W. Smith is the creator of the upcoming The Proud Family Louder and prouder and Jones Court. He is the creator of Okay, Kayo, Let's be heroes and Angelique Parent is the voice actor and co host and producer of Cafe Mocha Radio on WBLS. Thank you all for speaking with me. Thank you. All.