Long before film and television, animation was perhaps the first format to offer an accurate, complex and memorable portrayal of black girls and women in media. It’s no wonder that some of our favorite cartoon characters are the ones that still hold a near and dear imprint on our inner child’s heart.
While black cartoon characters are sometimes in short supply, the ones we picked on this list are certainly top notch. Here are seven of our favorite black girls in animation that still resonate in pop culture and our memories.
1. Jodi | I would give
We start the list with Jody Landon from the series I would give, a high school student who is tired of being the token black girl. Jodi is often in her own world, focused on her studies, college applications, and her boyfriend Mac. She is described as having the brightest future of all the characters in the series, as one of her main themes in the series is her future in college, which sets her apart from many other characters. Her humor is often sarcastic and she tends to play the role of mother to her group of friends, giving them great advice and helping them out of unpleasant situations.
2. Susie | trifles
Susanna Yvonne “Susie” Carmichael, even as a child, epitomized black supremacy. This is Angelica’s worst nightmare, the villain and antagonist of the series, as Susie is always trying to stop Angelica’s abuse of the other young children. It does everything trifles admire Susie, making her another “mom friend.” Susie is optimistic, selfless, bright and always strives to stand up for what is right. She is a talented singer and dancer and speaks ten languages, things her nemesis, Angelica, wishes she could do.
3. Foxxy Love | draw together
draw together It was one of the most iconic and monumental adult comedies of its time, and the character of Foxxy Love remains legendary. She is the first openly bisexual/pansexual character on our list and is a virtuoso who excels in her musical talent as well as solving mysteries. One of his most iconic quotes is: “I’m like Sherlock Holmes if he played the tambourine and shaved his vulva.” In the band, he sings lead vocals and plays the tambourine. Throughout the show, she tackles racial differences, queer identity, and female empowerment.
4 Valerie Brown | Josie and the cats
Based on the comics of Archie, Josie and the Cats This is a comic book adaptation Josie on Archie. One of the trio’s members, Valerie Brown is the band’s bassist and backing vocalist and plays tambourine. He is also the voice of reason in the group and is very intelligent. She is called the mechanical wizard, and she is also the main composer and multi-instrumentalist, despite the fact that in most episodes she only appears playing the tambourine.
5. Storm | X-man
No list that includes the best black characters in animation could exist without Storm, the mutant of X-man with the possibility of time control. Although he doesn’t have much screen time in the animated series of X-manAs the series focuses more on Wolverine’s story, she is one of the bravest members of the team, often using her ability to get others out of harm’s way.
6. Coffee | Cowboy bebop
As we reach the end of the list, we include Coffee, one of the characters from the iconic anime Cowboy bebop. On the one hand, I have some problems with her being called that because of her skin color because it fetishizes her a bit, but we still claim her as a character: we don’t spend much time with her when she appears in Cowboy bebop, but leaves a lasting impression. What we like most is the 70s Blaxsploitation aesthetic and her mannerisms.
7. Yoruichi Shihouin | bleach
We can’t complete this list without mentioning Yoruichi from bleach. Born into a noble and wealthy family with the title of princess, she definitely doesn’t act like one. She is strong, smart, resourceful and kicks ass in many battles. Also, we especially like her attitude and the fact that she seems laid back but quickly turns into a ruthless fighter when she needs to be.
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