Posted 10 months ago
Picking up where comic strips left off in the early 20th century, theatrical cartoon film shorts portrayed Blacks in a racially derogatory and stereotypical manner as cannibals, coons, mammies and Stepin Fetchit characters with exaggerated features and ignorant dialect. From 1900 to 1960, over 600 cartoon shorts featuring Black characters were produced by some of Hollywood’s greatest White animators and biggest film studios. Several famous Black jazz musicians such as Cab Calloway, Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong were also portrayed as stereotypical caricatures.
After sixty years of negative cartoon images, it wasn’t until the early 1970’s that Saturday Morning television cartoons started to feature image affirming Black characters with a modern look and positive story lines that delivered culturally relevant messages. It was during the 1970’s that for the first time Black children could see cartoon characters that looked, talked and acted more realistically like them, such as Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, as well as more positive depictions of their favorite Black music icons and sports heroes like The Jackson 5ive featuring Michael Jackson and his brothers, The Harlem Globetrotters and I Am The Greatest featuring Muhammad Ali.
For the first time Black children were able to see their cartoon role models teach positive messages like family values, the importance of education, friendship, civic duty and personal responsibility and sportsmanship. Also, for the first time cartoons like The Hardy Boys and Josie and The Pussycats featured multi-cultural casts where Black and White characters lived, played and worked together, which provided very different images for White children as well.
The Museum Of UnCut Funk Black Animation Collection includes original production cels and drawings and limited edition cels from this turning point in cartoon history where Black and White animators created positive Black characters and Black stories for all to enjoy, including: Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids; The Jackson 5ive; The Harlem Globetrotters; Valerie Brown – Josie and The Pussy Cats; Lt. Uhura – Star Trek Animated Series; Muhammad Ali – I Am The Greatest; Billy Jo Jive – Sesame Street; Verb: That’s What’s Happening – School House Rock and Franklin – Peanuts.
The Museum Of UnCut Funk Black Animation Collection includes artwork from many cartoons and characters that are celebrating 40th anniversaries and represents several historical “firsts”, such as:
First positive Black character from a TV series to appear as same character in a Saturday morning cartoon series – Lt. Uhura, The Star Trek Animation Series (1972)
Longest running positive Black cast Saturday morning cartoon series – Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (1972)
First positive Black female character in a Saturday morning cartoon series – Valerie Brown, Josie And The Pussycats (1970)
First Black character to appear in a Peanuts TV cartoon special – Franklin Armstrong (1973)
For more information on the Museum Of UnCut Funk Collection please visit http://museumofuncutfunk.com