Cancel Culture has sunk its claws so deep into our pop culture and daily lives that now even cartoon characters are effected.
Many ethnic characters on various animated shows who had originally been voiced by actors of other ethnicities are now changing that so people who never watched their programs can feel better. Such is the case with the character of Cleveland on Family Guy.
The series has recast the role of Cleveland Brown with YouTube star Arif Zahir. Mike Henry, who had voiced Brown since the show’s inception in 1999, announced in June that he was stepping down from the role.
“I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color,” Henry, who is white, said in his announcement about playing Cleveland, who is black.
Henry will remain a voice cast series regular on Family Guy, He will continue to play Bruce the Performance Artist, Herbert the Pedophile and a slew of ancillary roles and likely will help create new characters to voice.
I tend to disagree with this choice. It isn’t racist of someone of a different ethnicity voices a POC on an animated show or film. I mean if that’s the case, burn every Disney animated film right now! Unless it’s done in a derogatory or racist manner, other ethnicities should be able to voice a POC character without people bitching about it.
Anyways, Zahir will begin voicing Cleveland for Season 19 episodes which have just begun production. In Season 18, whose episodes had already been completed or were in advanced stages of animation when Henry exited the Cleveland role, will continue to feature Henry as the character. The season premieres Sunday night with the show’s 350th episode.
“Firstly, I’m eternally grateful to have received this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Zahir said. “When I heard that Mike Henry was stepping down from the role of Cleveland Brown — my favorite cartoon character of all time — I was shocked and saddened, assuming we’d never see him again. When I learned I would get to take over the role? Overabundant gratitude. To Mike, you created something truly special, and I promise I will do my absolute best to honor your legacy. To Rich Appel, Alec Sulkin and Seth MacFarlane, thank you for this incredible gift. And to the millions of fans who love this show, I promise not to let you down.”
Zahir has done a slew of Cleveland Brown impersonations on his YouTube channel that have raked in millions of views.