Recently Tyler The Creator [who needs no introduction] has been full of gems lately. From releasing his album Flower Boy to making a statement that needed to be heard all around. Recently Tyler made an appearance at Comic Con and was asked by a woman in the crowd why the character that plays Cornell in his latest cartoon series Jellies [that used to be on Tyler’s Golf Media but is now on Adult Swim] went from being white to being black. Tyler explained that the representation for black cartoons are scarce if not nonexistent. Being frustrated with not having any cartoons to represent the black community in stereotypical and/or negative light(meaning no typical black cartoon characters with guns or a ball in their hand).
Tyler, The Creator at Comic Con pic.twitter.com/xG15w94uAL
— Loiter Squad (@LoiterSquadPost) July 30, 2017
It’s crazy to think that there isn’t any positive representations for people in color outside of being a trouble maker, a star basketball or football player. The last time we’ve seen positive characters who were black and non-stereotyped were Fillmore! , The Proud Family, Static Shock, Class of 3000, Chef from South Park, The Cleveland Show (and before the 70’s , cartoons didn’t embrace people of color ), but what do we have to show for now? Zilch. The question shouldn’t surround why Cornell is black now but rather what we can we do to increase the longevity of positive black characters. The very issue that people may have with Cornell’s race change are the same people that had a problem when they found out that Marvel’s new Iron Man was going to be played by a black female. The solution to this is to embrace the new change in Jellies, to curate black cartoons that can play a lawyer, a neurosurgeon , or a famous skateboarder. Like Tyler says on “Where’s This Flower Blooms”
tell these black kids they can be who they are
It’s our responsibility to let kids and all ages of people of color know that we are limitless and that we are capable of playing our own heroes and role models. If we have to step out the box to let kids know that they aren’t limited to just being athletes and/or holding a gun than this is clearly a necessary step that we have to take to make an impact on the kids that are watching. Tyler isn’t only creating this narrative but he is living the narrative of doing what he believes in. If we can all believe in ourselves and instill that same belief into the minds of our kids of color, we’re limitless.