The conversation around black representation has now led to Kristen Bell and Jenny Slate walk away from their biracial cartoon characters. Both the talented actors have announced their separation from the characters and they confess that their decision to voice these characters was ‘a lack of awareness’ and ‘pervasive privilege’.
For Kristen Bell, the separation means parting ways from her character Molly, from Central Park. The show airs on Apple TV+ and has been live for less than a month. As for Jenny Slate, she has quit her character Missy Foreman-Greenwald from Big Mouth. The Netflix animated show has Slate on board since 2017.
Explaining her decision to quit the show, Jenny Slate shared a length Instagram post. She wrote, “At the start of the show, I reasoned with myself that it was permissible for me to play ‘Missy’ because her mom is Jewish and White — as am I. But ‘Missy’ is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.
“I acknowledge how my original reasoning was flawed… that it existed as an example of white privilege and unjust allowances made within a system of societal white supremacy, and that in me playing ‘Missy’, I was engaging in an act of erasure of Black people,” Jenny Slate added.
In the note further, Jenny, opened up how she cannot change the past but can work on the present and the future. “Ending the portrayal of ‘Missy’ is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions.” Read the complete note below.
Just like Jenny Slates, Kristen Bell gave out her clarification on Twitter and Instagram as well. “This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity. Heres 1 of mine. Playing the Molly in Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege. Casting a mixed race character w/a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race & Black American experience,” Kristen Bell wrote.
The makers of Central Park also issued a statement and welcomed Kristen Bell’s decision. The actor will still be a part of the next season as it has wrapped up before her exit.
What do you feel about Kristen and Jenny Slate’s decision? Let us know in the comments section below.