After a cancellation and surviving a global pandemic in the process, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are finally back on track (in 2021) and gearing up for highly anticipated athletic battles all taking place in Japan. Set to open on July 23, 2021 with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and organizers insisting that measures will be put in place to ensure the safety of athletes and other visitors, as well as a nervous Japanese public, the momentum is full steam ahead, with NBC curating over 7,000 hours of programming and 17 days of the best of the best competing for ultimate bragging rights.
And you know we wouldn't be who we are if we didn't show all the love to the ladies who will be showing up as their full selves, doing the damn thing, and representing for Black women, all up in the place. So, here's a list of some of our favorite women who are headed to Tokyo to bring home the gold:
Disclaimer: Lots of amazing Black women are continually qualifying for the Olympic events, and there are adjustments, drop outs, or additions announced every day. This article reflects who will be present at the time of publishing.
Simone Biles (of course)
Simone Biles has been killing all exercises in gymnastics, and basically kicking all ass and taking names. She has gladly accepted the role of being the face and mentor of USA gymnastics.
Jordan Chiles and Biles are teammates on the US gymnastics team and will compete together in Tokyo. Upon qualifying, Biles captioned a celebration photo of the two:
"Proud is an understatement."
Go kill it, ladies!
The 6'4'' Jordan Thompson, while at Cincinnati, was the 2019 Player of the Year, a first-team All-American and broke NCAA records in kills per set, tallying a school-record 827 kills during the 2018 season. She helped the U.S. win gold at the Tokyo Qualification Tournament in 2019. Her father Tyrone played for the Harlem Globetrotters.
Foluke Akinradewo is a Middle Blocker, born in Ontario, and a two-time Olympic medalist. Her son was born in 2019 and she, in addition to the U.S.ho, lds tri-citizenship in Canada and Nigeria.
Haleigh Washington is a 6'3'' three-time first-team All-American. She was named best blocker at the 2019 Volleyball Nations League, helping the U.S. win gold.
Chiaka Ogbogu has a 10-foot, 5-inch spike touch and led the U.S. in hitting efficiency and kill percent during the 2019 Volleyball Nations League, helping the gold medal-winning effort. Shehas played professionally since 2017 in Italy, Poland, and Turkey.
TRACK & FIELD
Allyson Felix famously kept her pregnancy a secret for several months, continuing to compete when she was four months pregnant. She lost endorsement deals but eventually returned on top. The rest, well, the rest goes down in track and field flex history. She wrote on Twitter:
"It's amazing how quickly your priorities change in moments like this. At that point, the only thing I cared about was that my daughter, Camryn, was OK. I didn't care if I ever ran track again." my greatest love."
Felix also made headlines for paying the childcare for moms competing in Tokyo.
The 25-year-old Texas native, born with a brachial plexus injury that limits mobility in her right shoulder, will compete in the track and field portion of the Paralympics.
One of the most anticipated athletes to compete this year is definitely Simone Manuel, who has shown up for the sport with something to prove. She is part beast, part fish and welcomes the competition in the most humble way. After missing the final in the 100 freestyle, and detailing her struggles, Manuel used a late reach to get to the wall first at the U.S. Olympic Trials and punch her ticket to Tokyo.
The U.S. Women's Basketball team consists of Ariel Atkins, Tina Charles, Napheesa Collier, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Sylvia Fowles, Chelsea Gray, Brittney Griner, Jewell Loyd, and A'ja Wilson. The U.S. team are the reigning champions and is looking for a historic seventh straight gold medal this summer
Rashida Ellis was one of the first six boxers to qualify for the Olympics so far. The 25-year-old hails from Lynn, Massachusetts, and will be making her Olympic debut.
Another one to qualify for the Olympics, is 23-year-old Oshae Jones. She will represent USA Boxing in one of two new weight divisions on the women's side. Fun fact: Jones is coached by her dad, Otha, and one of her two brothers, Roshown. Both of her brothers have been professional boxers.
Naomi Graham ranks No. 1 among America's middleweights and eighth in the world. Additionally, Graham will be the first active female member of the military to compete for USA Boxing in the Olympics (she's a staff sergeant in the Army).
The beloved roster of mainly veteran players who have won World Cups and Olympic gold medals while fighting for equal pay (among other things), are back for their closeup. Their first game representing the United States in the Olympic Games is on July 21, two days before opening ceremonies.
Crystal Dunn spoke on the moment, saying:
"Black women, especially, us existing in spaces that were not necessarily created for them" is not easy. I do think women as a whole, we are a little bit reserved in regards to boasting and sharing our accolades and talking about it in the media. But I think Black women have a whole other level of cautiousness regarding that, because we often do feel like we are just happy to be here. And I'm like, no, no, no, no, I'm not here to survive. I'm here to thrive in this environment."
Michelle Moultrie's road to the Olympics is finally here! The 31-year old has played on the U.S. National Team since departing Florida in 2012 and with softball not part of the London Olympics (2012) or Rio de Janeiro Games (2016), she has been anticipating her Olympic debut.
Paige "McFierce" McPherson, is a 30-year-old Afro-Filipino taekwondo competitor has been training six days a week for her third Olympics. She won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics and is the first American woman to make three Olympics in taekwondo.
Coco Gauff (has since withdrew due to COVID)
The 17-year-old Coco Gauff, currently ranked 23, earned her place as American No. 3. She will play for the U.S. in women's singles and will be the youngest Olympic tennis player in 20 years (year 2000). Although Naomi Osaka will be competing for her birthplace of Japan, you can be sure that both of them ladies will be there to support each other's BGM from the sidelines.
The 28-year old Oakland native earned a title in 2019 as the U.S. women had their best showing ever at the world championships with a total of three gold medalists. Now Jacarra Winchester will be favored to reach the podium, if not win it all, in her Olympic debut.
Back in July, she wrote on Twitter:
"In 1 month I will be going for gold, in Tokyo, along side these wonderful ladies. I have never met a group of women more persistent, hardworking & talented. TeamUSA is ready"
After barely missing the mark to qualify for the 2016 Rio Games, Tamyra Mensah-Stock is now on her way to Tokyo to compete on Team USA's wrestling team. Originally a track star, Mensah-Stock serves as the current women's world champion in the 68kg category. Black women are taking over everywhere!
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Featured image by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Haitian-born writer Mike Gauyo, also known as "Black Boy Writes," is breaking barriers in the television arena. His love of writing began as a hobby at a young age. It wasn't until he went to college to become a doctor that he knew the medical field wasn't for him. Taking time to perfect his craft in writing, opportunities arrived, giving the trailblazer a chance to work as a production assistant on the film The Equalizer and reality TV's American Idol.
Moving to Los Angeles, California was an exciting jump in Mike's career. After taking on a part-time job working at a local gym, within 6 months, he crossed paths with filmmaker Issa Rae.
Rae put together a creative mixer back in 2015 for creatives to attend. The requirements for entry was for candidates to submit a sample of their writing. Gauyo's work was chosen and from there, his fairy tale dream would come true. "I met Issa for all of two minutes, but I made her laugh within those two minutes. I said, 'She's going to remember me,'" the tickled writer mentioned.
The two were able to stay in contact as they continued to cross paths. Issa gave Gauyo his first writing opportunity on a scripted podcast she created, called Fruit, where he wrote for two seasons. This allowed him to build a network with other writers.
"Meeting Issa Rae was a story of perseverance, following up, being persistent and all of the characteristics and attributes you need to be a successful writer."
Without knowing what was in store down the road, Issa reached back out to Mike offering him a position as staff writer on HBO's Insecure for Season 4. Unfortunately, he was unable to accept the position due to timing. As devastating as it may sound, Gauyo was offered another position. He landed his first staff writer job for Season 1 of Netflix's hottest television drama, Ginny and Georgia. Gauyo expressed, "The show resonated with the demographic of teens to senior citizens. It was at an equal level. Talking about the biracial Black experience and the biracial Asian experience, and even speaking about single parents and raising their children."
Mike took a lot of pride in making it known that many of the writers and executives of the show were first-timers. "A lot of times the industry doesn't take a chance on you because you're new and because they don't want to take the risk. I think that Ginny and Georgia is proof that more networks, more executives need to take the risk because it was a room full of people doing this for the first time," he happily mentioned.
Continuing to pave the way for people of color in the industry, Gauyo launched a partnership with Culture Creative where he birthed his mentorship program that focuses on providing support and resources to preWGA Black writers. The program is aptly titled the Black Boy Writes/Black Girl Writes Mentorship Initiative. "I felt as though there were a lot of preWGA writers who weren't being seen, who had the talent but didn't have the access. I've spent years building a roll of industry contacts and people I've built genuine relationships with who I can pick up and call."
"If I can do that for another writer who possesses the talent and just doesn't have the access to the contacts they need, I will help them."
Currently, Gauyo is in the writers' room of Netflix's Ginny and Georgia, as the show was renewed for another season after the first season was watched by 52 million subscribers. Additionally, his opportunity with Issa came back full circle as Rae offered him a position as staff writer for the fifth and final season of Insecure. Mike happily accepted.
The writer urges anyone who has a dream to push for it and never give up. Timing is everything.
Featured image via Mike Gauyo/Instagram
Between May's randomness and June's endless heartbreak, I was beginning to think that July would be another moment of Summertime Sadness. Nevertheless, the artists of this week show that there is always a rainbow at the end of the storm. With the broken-hearted out of the way, room has been made for the fun ("Pink Noise"), the smiting ("Around), and the downright in love ("Sinner").
Get ready to turn up the heat with these latest hits that will be sure to reignite your summertime happiness.
"Pink Noise" - Laura Mvula
First of all: You're welcome.
Second of all: Thank you, Laura Mvula.
Everything this song is and everything this song tries to be is nothing short of excellent. Supreme. Top-notch and/or whatever whimsical adjective you fancy. This 80s-fueled dance pop track, "Pink Noise" will have you moving before the ten-second mark begins and you won't stop until long after it concludes. It's the fun summer song you've been looking for, long deprived of and my goodness it's a shame we haven't gotten it sooner. There's no denying that this song will have you hooked with its Janet Jackson and Grace Jones vibe. With its audacious trumpets and compelling vocals, "Pink Noise" is a summer hit I pray doesn't go ignored.
Also, if you're in the mood for a little self-care, treat yourself to Laura Mvula's newest album Pink Noise. Now available on all streaming platforms.
"The Jackie" - Bas ft. J. Cole & Lil Tjay
Juxtaposing their previous collaboration "Tribe," Dreamville's Bas and J. Cole return with a summertime hit made for the clubs. With the addition of rapper Lil Tjay, Bas and J. Cole share stories of their adventures while traveling along Jackie Robinson Highway, which connects Brooklyn and Queens ("The Jackie"). This song will definitely become a summer anthem. Between J. Cole's catchy hook and verse, Bas and Lil Tjay sing-song-esque melodious flow, the song is guaranteed to make you move. This is J. Cole's first appearance since dropping his latest acclaimed album, The Off-Season this past May. Meanwhile, Bas is rumored to be dropping an album later this year.
"Around" - JONES ft. Nardeydey
"Around" by JONES ft. Nardeydey perfectly captures and recreates the butterflies one gets in their stomach whenever a crush is near. It's the dopey grin you never knew you could make. The little giggle you're too embarrassed to release. It's the nervous feeling you get when you're uncertain if your crush feels the same. The excited feeling you get when you discover they do. It's incredibly cute. And it's the perfect summer vibe in a time where breakups seem endless. Perfect for a summer jam, "Around" is a charming, melodic tune worthy of being saved to your library.
"Get Up" - Logic
Logic returns from his short-lived retirement, with his second single in two weeks, "Get Up." In this reflective and acoustic-heavy single, Logic reflects on his journey and career as an artist. Focusing on his accomplishments, he gives recognition to his family, friends, and team for helping him get this far. Though, he is willing to also give some credit onto himself, crediting a lot of his success to his own determination, ambition, and perseverance. With lyrics like "every time I fall, you know I get up," Logic's new single "Get Up" is the motivational song you need for the summer.
YS Collection Vol.1 album, including single "Get Up," is now available on all streaming platforms.
"I Love You, I Hate You" - Little Simz
From the upcoming album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, is Little Simz newest single, "I Love You, I Hate You." Reminiscent of 90s and 80s rap, Little Simz confronts her absent father over a grooving baseline and eccentric jazz track. Entering and leaving the chorus, she mentions that she loves her father, but because of the person he chooses to be she hates him. The verses are raw and impactful as she explains her resentment and hatred toward his absence and denial. Ultimately, she discovers that she must forgive her father for herself and that it is OK to simultaneously love and hate his existence.
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert will be released September 3, 2021.
"Day Off" - Cynthia Erivo
"Day Off" is the second single released from Cynthia Erivo's forthcoming album Ch. 1 vs. 1. Perfect for an early morning, or relaxing evening, this calming track is an alt-R&B song about making time to spend with a significant other. With Erivo melodiously requesting for one to take the day off, it's hard not to be allured by the soothing plea. By the time the song has concluded, you'll be so enraptured by the soul-stirring synth and tranquil vocals, you'll be compelled to do just as she asks.
Ch. 1 Vs. 1 will be released September 17, 2021.
"Make U Go" - Duckwrth
In his upcoming EP SuperGood 8, newly independent artist Duckwrth returns with single, "Make U Go." In his signature rap-singing flare, Duckwrth sings about the pleasures that he can give a woman, should he be given the opportunity to. Ever the confident one, Duckwrth assures her that she will have a great night, one worth bragging about to her friends. Though, despite his experience, she will not need to worry because despite his "thotty ways" she is the only one he wants to make go "ooh." This single is fun, relaxing, and the very song you need during this summer of break-ups. It's playful without being silly and smooth without being cocky.
Duckwrth's EP SuperGood 8 drops September 3, 2021.
"ARE YOU WITH THAT?" - Vince Staples
Having just released his self-titled album, Vince Staples returns with his second single, "ARE YOU WITH THAT?" In an album meant to offer fans and peers a new insight to who Staples truly is, "ARE YOU WITH THAT?" questions what Staples is down with and what he has outgrown. Throughout the song, he mentions gangbanging and violence nonchalantly and as a former aspiration. When he was younger, all Vince Staples imagined was being "a thug," now that he is older and wiser, he questions what he is willing to return to and the life that he now chooses to claim. With a more somber take, this song might not be a club sensation, but that's a sacrifice one is willing to take with a song of such substance.
Vince Staples, the album, including single "ARE YOU WITH THAT?," is now available on all streaming platforms.
"Go(l)d" - Mereba
"Go(l)d" is serene. Warm. Hopeful. And a little romantic. Beginning with a soft acoustic guitar and brooding rhythms, Mereba reflects on her journey and how she has changed during its travel. At the end of this journey, she has seen hardships, and she is unsure what everything she has seen means. Nevertheless, despite what she has seen and the confusion exploring the world has created, she manages to still "believe in gold" and the good things that the world has to offer. Doing so might make her crazy, nonsensical, or even a little naive, but in this new chapter of life (motherhood) a little faith can go a long way.
AZEB EP, including single "Gold?," is now available on all streaming platforms.
"Sinner" - Adekunle Gold ft. Lucky Daye
Nigerian singer-songwriter Adekunle Gold collaborates with Lucky Daye in his newest single "Sinner." Smoothly romantic, the song begins with a violin reminiscent of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" only to later take a calming trance with the addition of drums and Adekunle Gold's melodious vocals. The song could easily fall into the a cliched romance about love being almost sinful, but with his entrancing instrumentals and a gentle, confident approach, the song is anything but. Instead, we are left with a something that reflects the peace one exudes when finding the one. This might be about sinner, but it isn't about one remorseful of their sin. Instead, Gold believes that if their relationship is sinful, he is more than happy to worship at this alter.
For more new music releases in the month of July so far, keep scrolling:
"Wild Side" - Normani ft. Cardi BNormani x Cardi B – “Wild Side” Out Now!Listen Here: https://smarturl.it/xWildSide Follow Normani:https://www.twitter.com/Normani https://www.facebook.com/n...
"Bouncin" - Tinashe
"F Yah Job" - Childish Major
"MIA" - Ray BLK ft. Kaash Paige
"Lonely As I Ever Was" - Spencer.
"Romeo" - Jungle ft. Bas
"Type of Day" - BJ the Chicago Kid
"My Lil Dance" - Hotboy Wes ft. Gucci Mane
"Nevada" - YoungBoy Never Broke Again
"Plastic Surgery" - YN Jay ft. Lil Pump
"Section" - Ant Clemons ft. Kehlani
"Fuck Him All Night" - Azealia Banks
"Whole Lotta Money (Remix)" - BIA ft. Nicki Minaj
"Wake Up" - Drumma Boy ft. Lil Got & Kollision
"Feeling Good" - Ledisi
"Worth It" - Mya
"Aura" - Mariah the Scientist
"Shirt (Partial)" - SZA
The 48:26 mark, thank us later.
"Good Good" - Tanerelle
"Gametime" - Amine & Lil Tecca
Featured image via Giphy
When it comes to body language, perhaps no one knows it better than dancer turned actress Taylour Paige. The star of the new Twitter-inspired film Zola traded her footwork for the pole-work in the portrayal of her titular character. And much like with the film's viral 148-tweet source material, Taylour is the talk of the town and absolutely sizzles in her on-screen performance, on and off the pole. The end result? Taylour was able to tap into a freedom she didn't know she needed.
The 30-year-old took the acting world by storm when she came onto the scene via her breakout role in the hit series Hit the Floor. But what some may not know is that Taylour's lead role in the show wasn't a far cry from her own reality. While the actress might have been portraying Los Angeles Devils girl Ahsha Hayes on-screen, she was a former Los Angeles Lakers girl in real life.
Zola, however, is quite the departure from her goody-two-shoes image as doe-eyed Ahsha. Much like the Twitter "hoeism" thread it was based on, the A24 production follows Zola (portrayed by Taylour) and Stefani (portrayed by Riley Keough) as they journey to Florida to make money dancing and the crazy ride that ensues as their time together unfolds. The dramedy is a chaotic blend of suspense, thongs, and intrigue.
When trading in her dancing shoes for stilettos, Taylour admitted wearing Zola's shoes required more of her than any character has before. She told The Wrap:
"I'm a dancer, but I worked at the strip club for four weeks. I think all my life experiences prepared me for the role. I didn't want to look like an actor trying to dance, I didn't want to look like a dancer trying to strip, I wanted to look like this person in the given circumstances who works at a restaurant and also dances."
During her time researching her role, Taylor also connected with the real-life Zola, A'Ziah-Monae King, who also helped her add color and texture to her portrayal on-screen.
"We just talked a lot and I got to know her voice and her spirit. She's just so funny and quick and smart. Her use of punctuation, like everything about her … she's on some other s–t."
That friendship, preparation, and overall starring role in the indie film has changed Taylour forever. Stepping into the shoes and the skin of someone else helped her shed a layer of herself she didn't know she needed to lose.
"[The role gave me] freedom to be a woman and love my body and my sexuality, and not being also self-conscious or such a perfectionist. Just giving myself grace to figure it out as I go and be as present and honest as I can with the dialogue … it just marked a really, really, really pivotal change in my life."
Zola is out now in theatres.
Featured image by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images
Growing up, black representation was few and far between. With black leads only making up five percent of television, it was difficult to find someone who looked and act liked us, reflected on screen. Even more so, if you were looking at animations. Although, despite the lack of prominent representation, there were a few black cartoon characters that made the experience of growing up worthwhile.
From Storm's fierce relentlessness to Frozone's disarming charm, these are the top ten black cartoon characters that make our inner child scream black girl (and boy) magic.
1. Ororo "Storm" Munroe (The X-Men)90s marvel GIFGiphy
Making her debut over 45 years ago, Ororo "Storm" Munroe is hands down the best cartoon depiction of what it means to be a black superhero. Despite the live action movies constantly getting her wrong—remember when Halle Berry had an accent and then suddenly didn't—the origins of this character is worth exploring. Daughter of a Kenyan tribal princess and an American journalist, Storm was orphaned at a young age. As a result, she spent time as a petty-thief before choosing to use her power for good. With the abilities to control the weather (Atmokinesis), witchcraft, telepathic resistance, and eventually godhood, Storm is one of the strongest mutants in the X-Men universe.
Not only is she a powerful superhero, but she is also a compassionate one, often using her powers to stop man-made or weather-related disasters. Nevertheless, despite being an interesting and omnipotent hero, Storm is often overlooked in films and cartoon adaptations. Although, now that Marvel has obtained the rights to X-Men, hopefully this will change in the near-future. With the care that the Marvel Universe gives towards their superhero stories, there is a good chance that will see the Storm we all deserve on the big screens soon.
2. Virgil "Static Shock" Hawkins (Static Shock)Giphy
Get up, get up, gotta go. Gotta get up, get up, gotta go. Here we go!
Static freaking Shock was the best thing about childhood cartoons. Premiering almost 21 years ago on WB, and 28 years ago in the comics, Static Shock is the pseudonym of teenage superhero, Virgil Hawkins. Made a social outcast due to his high intellect, Hawkins was subjected to constant ridicule and bullying from his peers. After a particularly harsh beating, Virgil attempts to get payback, where he was ambushed by the cops and sprayed with supernatural tear gas, which resulted in Hawkins obtaining electromagnetic mutant abilities. He later chooses to use his abilities to save those of Dakota City from both supernatural beings and petty criminals. Despite being an interesting superhero and having an enticing origin story and series, there hasn't been many adaptations of the cartoon/comic book character. Though, that looks like it might be changing soon.
During the DC Fandom last August, Reginald Hudlin teased an upcoming Static Shock film. Not long after, in October 2020, Blank Panther's Michael B. Jordan announced that he would be producing the Static Shock DC Superhero movie adaptation. There is still no word on who will be playing Static Shock or when the movie is set to production, but regardless of when it does, I'm sure it will do what it has always done: put "a shock to our systems" that will never run out.
3. Numbuh 5 (Codename: Kids Next Door)
"We are the Kids Next Door, Numbuh 4! We save kids. That's our job."
A job well done, indeed. Saving us from the sheer boredom of weekends at home was the infamous and adventurous Codename: Kids Next Door. Voiced by showstopper in all things black, Cree Summer, Numbuh 5 was the best KND member around. Second-in-command, due to her relaxed nature and wicked intelligence, Numbuh 5, or Abigail Lincoln if you dare, was the only African-American teammate of the codename crew. Taking all of her missions seriously, Numbuh 5 used her book and street smarts to help execute successful operations.
Numbuh 5 was a fun character from KND. Balanced perfectly between wholehearted earnestness and plain absurdity (refusing to give up a treasure chest of candy), she often created hilarity in the foil of her character. Numbuh 5 was the first of few black female cartoon characters that was given more than background roles to play. With a good amount of the episodes surrounding Numbuh 5 and her relationship with others, it was no wonder why we were all glued to our TVs. And because they respected her enough to develop her character to be more than just her race, there is no doubt that "We're going to be Kids Next Door [fans] forever."
4. Penny Proud (The Proud Family)Mad The Proud Family GIFGiphy
Sing it with me: She's Penny Proud, she's cute and she's loud. And she gots. It. Going on.
Let's be real, you sung that in the proper cadence without me even having to mention the where to find the video. Between its original airing times, the movie, Destiny's Child and Solange Knowles' theme song, its promised revitalization on BET, and the reruns on Disney+, The Proud Family is a show that is hard to forget. It's an even harder show to put down, despite the show's final episode premiering nearly 16 years ago. The Proud Family follows the family and friends of 14-year-old Penny Proud who live in Wizville, California. Confident and fearless, Penny spends most of her time seeking out what she wants and relentlessly achieving those goals. As a jack of all trades and master of none, most of her adventures are sporadic and varying in degree.
One moment she is a pop singer, traveling the world, and the next she is attempting to babysit her siblings who insist on going on adventures of their own. With every episode being something new to explore, your journey with the Proud Family will be like traveling with your own dysfunctional family. A show ahead of its time, The Proud Family had all black families, smiling from ear to ear and glued to the TV. After all, what's better than seeing yourself reflected back on television?
Though the show follows protagonist, Penny Proud (voiced by Kyla Pratt), it is hard to watch it without acknowledging all of the characters that make us so damn proud to watch it in the first place. With Suga Mama putting her feet in everything, Oscar's constant yelling, Trudy's insistence on keeping her family together, the twins' escapades, the Gross Sisters' thieving, and Dijonay's unreliability—except in her love for Sticky, this show was only meant to succeed.
5. Frozone (The Incredibles)the incredibles animation GIF by Walt Disney StudiosGiphy
Frozone probably had the total of thirty minutes of screen time in The Incredible movies combined, but in those thirty minutes, he knew how to steal a show. Known for his "where's my super suit" scene and Samuel L. Jackson voice, Frozone was a Black cartoon character that we just simply can't forget. As a longtime close friend to Mr. and Mrs. Incredible and surrogate "Uncle Lucius" to the kids, Frozone was essential to helping the Incredibles fight villains. With his ability to create ice and freeze surfaces with his hands, he often got himself and the Incredibles out of situations when super-strength just wouldn't do. Despite not seeing him nearly as much as we hope in The Incredibles and its sequel, a little birdie (Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Pictures) says that they plan to release a Frozone film as the prequel to The Incredibles movies. Thus far, it looks like Samuel L. Jackson will return to voice the role, alongside Zoe Saldana, Jordan Peele, Kimberly Adair Clark, Tracy Morgan, and Craig T. Nelson.
6. Riley and Huey Freeman (The Boondocks)
The Boondocks was a show that everyone just happened to find. Without a single amount of advertisement, rhyme, or reason, every night around midnight and two, you'd find yourself in front of the television laughing at these children, who behaved like anything but. Between Riley and his constant need to buck the system and Huey and his endless need to dismantle it, The Boondocks offered an adult animation from the perspective of children. Children, who at most times, behaved better than the adults. And man was it beautiful ride.
Balancing itself perfectly between offensive and woke, The Boondocks offered a comedic outlook on how African-Americans see themselves and the world they live in. Voiced by Regina King, John Witherspoon, Gary Anthony Williams, and other various stars and guests, The Boondocks discussed topics of Blackness in a comedic and objective way. Whether they were talking about the first Black President, systematic racism, peer pressure, perms, or the Civil Rights Movement, The Boondocks was a show that knew what story it wanted to tell and just how to tell it. Now in the political climate where it is necessary to have Black stories told, The Boondocks is seemingly set to return for the 2022 television season on HBO Max. This means more stories of the Freeman family and friends navigating the world both carefully and carelessly, and we're over the moon to see it.
7. Libby Folfax (Jimmy Neutron)Own It Jimmy Neutron GIF by NickelodeonGiphy
Liberty "Libby" Folfax is one of five central characters in Nickelodeon's Jimmy Neutron. Although, when the show first premiered it didn't seem this way. Clearly unsure of what to do with her character, in the early seasons, Libby was often seen, but rarely heard. She could be found in the background or in Cindy's shadow offering very little lines with even less substance. Nevertheless, this was rectified in season three of the beloved television show, and with this came the endless joy of Libby Folfax. From discovering her ancestor was an Egyptian queen to fashion model turned werewolf, and eventual dictator, Libby was given one interesting story after the other for little Black girls to fall in love with. With her candid personality, inability to lie, and levelheadedness, Libby was often a breath of fresh air in a show that thrived on endless chaos.
8. Susie Carmichael (The Rugrats)nicksplat rugrats GIFGiphy
Susie Carmichael was the absolute best. She was kind, caring, witty, and most importantly, she read Angelica for filth. Though she didn't appear in Rugrats nearly as much as she should've, when she did, Susie stole the show. First appearing in the 1993 episode, "Meet the Carmichaels," Susie quickly showed herself to be a promising character. Bright, friendly, fun-loving Susie was often put against Angelica, showing that she was willing to be supportive of Tommy and the crew's adventures. Ever the protector, she often stood up for the babies when bullies would attempt to get in their way and showed herself to be a character worthy of admiration. Eventually Susie and her family were given their own-spin off, The Carmichaels, nevertheless due to the Rugrats and All Grown Up universes, the series was axed due to continuity issues, leaving Susie and all her glory behind.
9. Princess TianaNew Orleans Food GIF by DisneyGiphy
To be honest, I am indifferent towards Princess Tiana. Admittedly, this indifference has nothing to do with Princess Tiana herself, but everything to do with The Princess and the Frog. I found it frustrating that when given the first chance to have a Black princess, Disney doesn't actually make her a princess, but a damn frog for the majority of the film. As if it couldn't get worse, the film's use of voodoo, jazz, and African-American dialect reflected the Black community in some unflattering light. Regardless, this is not meant to bash the Disney film that came out nearly 12 years ago, instead it's to mention and appreciate the only thing they managed to get right: Princess Tiana.
Voiced and sung by the amazing and disgustingly under-appreciated Anika Noni Rose, Princess Tiana is the first Disney princess who creates her own wealth, dreams, and manages to not be saved by a prince, or any man, for that fact. With her lively number of "Almost There," Princess Tiana encourages young Black girls to be driven and hardworking, as she works towards her goal of fixing up an old sugar mill to pursue her dream of creating her own restaurant. She constantly faces challenges, from being a social outcast to being a Black woman in the 1920s, yet she remains unshakably true to herself and her dreams, while dealing with the pressure of others. Despite the movie's issues, Tiana makes for a worthy heroine to root for and reflects the magic—and sometimes burden— of being a Black woman accurately and well.
10. Garnet (Steven Universe)steven universe garnet GIFGiphy
"Take a moment to remind yourself to take a moment and find yourself."
If you're looking for a strong, fierce, and clever character development, look no further than Steven Universe's Garnet. A fusion of the Ruby and Sapphire, Garnet is one of the most dynamic characters on this innovative and daring show. As the leader of the Crystal Gems, she is known to be a pragmatic, blunt character, though she rarely thinks a situation through before acting. With her combined size and strength, Garnet makes for a formidable hero against the show's biggest and baddest villains.
And with her old (yet youthful appearance) age, comes limitless wisdom, which she isn't afraid to share with her Gem family and audience alike. Garnet teaches young Black girls to be outwardly and unapologetically themselves, despite the expectations forced on them by society. Not to mention, she is voiced by singer Estelle, which makes her songs soulful and enticing to listen to.
Featured image via Giphy