- Written By 10Melanin Team
10 Animated TV Shows With Black Leading Characters
Whether you're old or young, when it comes to animation there's always something for everyone. We take a look at 10 animated tv shows with a Black person as a lead character, not a side kick, not a best friend but the main protagonist. While there are some classics on this list hopefully there will be a few you didn't know about.
10. Carole And Tuesday
If you can get past the fact that even in the future the white girl is rich and privileged while the Black girl is a poor orphaned refugee, Carole and Tuesday is actually a beautiful tale of friendship, hardship, and sisterhood. Although they come from completely different backgrounds their mutual love for music sees them embark on a journey that could change the world. The only reason it is so high up on the list is due to the fact the Black character is technically a co-lead and not solo lead. Oh and it's set on Mars which is pretty cool.
9. Neo Yokio
Ever wondered what it's like in the mind of Jaden Smith? well, this animation will give you a good idea. Kaz Kaan (Jaden Smith), is a depressed, vain and wealthy Magistocrat who tries to balance his demon hunting duties with his decadent lifestyle. This is a show people love to hate and upon release caused quite a stir amongst anime fans, but if you don't take it too seriously you might actually enjoy it. It's painfully sarcastic, a bit confusing at times but visually pleasing to watch.
8. Canon Busters
An imaginative space style western, with a pink Cadillac that turns into a robot.. need we say more? With an eclectic group of protagonists including a female friend android, a man who cant die and a robot who was programmed to fix everything and anything, this show is nothing outrageous from the start and packed with action. Created by African-American animation producer LeSean Thomas who previously has worked on The Boondocks, Legend of Korra and Black Dynamite which all have brown characters as their main characters, so it's obvious why he would continue this with Canon Busters.
7. Static Shock
Static Shock is an animated show based on the Dc/Milestone Media comic book superhero Virgil Hawkins aka "Static Shock". The show follows 14 year old Virgil (Phil LaMarr) trying to balance his superhero life with his teenage life while highlighting the pressures and complications surrounding gang culture. Virgil gains his powers when he is accidentally recruited by gang members and during the initiation they are interrupted by police which causes chemical containers to explode. The containers release a toxic gas that causes mutations to those who come into contact with it, changing the gang members into super villains and Virgil into a superhero.
6. Craig Of The Creek
From the writers of Steven Universe, Craig of the Creek is a wholesome and cute show following Craig (Philip Solomon) and his adventures in the wilderness. What's refreshing about this cartoon is the change of narrative that not all Black families live in the "urban" and inner city areas. Craig and his friends are good kids curious to explore the childlike utopia in which kids rule of over tree houses and dirt bike ramps.
5. Afro Samurai
Afro Samurai is an award winning mini series set in futuristic Japan. After witnessing his father being brutality murdered as a child Afro (Samuel L Jackson) embarks on a journey to avenge his father's death and is willing to kill anyone who gets in his way. The show is based on the magna series which featured in an avant-garde style manga magazine and the show reflects this with its low saturation aesthetic. There is also a sequel, a video game and a live action remake which has been rumoured for years but yet to be realised.
Fillmore, is a parody of police cop dramas from the 1970's and although not a real detective he takes his job extremely seriously, which is what makes the show so endearingly funny. Fillmore (Orlando Brown) spends most of the time solving crime and mystery around the school with his sidekick Ingrid (Tara Strong), making him a Black lead character with a white sidekick and not the other way around! Unapologetically badass and savage he is more like Shack than he is Nancy Drew.
3. The Boondocks
If you are easily triggered, offended or can't get past the over use of the N word, then the boondocks is not for you. It's a controversial but clever comment on society with great sense of humour, covering all aspects of life whether its pop culture, race or class. The show centres around the Freemans, a Black family living in a white suburban neighbourhood with two brothers Huey and Riley (Regina King) at the forefront who have very different personalities at the forefront. Going often where no one else dared to, it also highlighted a toxic side to the Black community, most notoriously with the character Uncle Ruckus (Gary Anthony Williams), who is a reference to Uncle Tom.
2. Kipo And The Age Of Wonderbeasts
Beautiful and enchanting, Kipo (Karen Fukuhara) is set in a post apocalyptic world in which humans mainly live underground and giant creatures rule the world on the surface. When Kipo gets separated from her family underground she sets out to find her father and her way home, however along the way she must overcome many challenges with her new found friends. Most importantly Kipo features not just one but three main Black characters!
1. The Proud Family
The proud family follows oldest child Penny (Kyla Pratt) who's an A student and her adventures with her family and friends. Think my wife and kids but in animation form, the show ran from 2001 - 2005 on the Disney channel with a totally of 52 episodes and 1 film. If you missed out on it the first time around, its currently streaming on Disney +. If Solange and destiny's child sung the theme tune, you know it's got to be good.