The series is the first Disney children’s cartoon which did not premiere on network/over-the-air television, which had been done since 1984 when the Television Animation unit was started. It marked the first animated Disney Channel Original Series, and, incidentally, the only original animated series from Disney Channel not associated with, and to be produced exclusively by Disney’s Television Animation arm.
Why was it special?: IT’S ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECES OF BLACK ANIMATION IN THE WORLD.
Friends, followers, casual observers you’ve read this whole thing correctly; Disney’s The Proud Familymight just be one of, if not THE most important black animated cartoon in the world.
You know what, for this post, because I lack the articulateness to truly express why and because I’m not in the demographic for this show at all, I am going to turn the platform completely over to someone else. We’re going to hear from someone who’s not only more qualified but can tell us everything and anything we need to know about this show and what makes it so great.
Ash, honey, lay it on us, what makes The Proud Family so special?
A much needed symbol of early 00s black
excellence , that’s what The Proud Family was made of.
Disney didn’t provide much black
visibility in the princess line up or the overall Disney Renassiance in the 90s
and even onward , although they had high profile black celebrities in their
voice casts ( James Earl Jones , Eddie Murphy , Eartha Kitt , Tevin
Campbell ) you couldn’t match the skin color
to the actor unfortunately .
Black characters would pop up
occasionally on the television shows that didn’t include anthropomorphic
characters such as Disney’s Recess , Pepper Ann , and The Weekenders .
The Proud Family was truly a joy and
breath of fresh air giving young black kids someone they could identify with
especially young black women.
Where do I begin ? cast members from
prominent black television shows and films such as Family Matters , Friday , In
Living Color , and Dr. Dolittle added all of the important spices to this show and
theme song provided by Solange Knowles and Destiny’s Child put the cherry on
A wonderful showcase of diversity on all
levels , The Proud Family touched on colorism , self esteem issues , friendship
, and even cultural insensitivity which was very important .
The series debuted in 2001 and ended in
2005 but was popular enough to get it’s own Disney Channel Original Movie , an
online spin off , and a crossover with the popular Lilo and Stitch series .
This sacred piece of black animation is
currently airing reruns on the Centric station , this was important to young
black women and even made the arrival of Princess Tiana even more significant.
To my black folks out there , PLEASE put
our children on to this series it is so important that they are exposed to this
good example of representation and allow this series as well as others that
were listed during black animation month to help them find hope and inspiration
so that they can go on and do amazing things for our community.
That’s just the big thing; the fact that the folks at Disney put a lot of heart and soul into this, an amount that other cartoons could only wish to have. Not only that but the show dealt with so many issues relevant to its target audience and more could enjoy and take away from it.
Just– you can feel the enthusiasm through my friend’s words, I could sit here and tell you what makes this show so special. I would even though I’d fumble around about it for a long time but you just need to ask anyone who loved it at the time and they’ll describe it with such insurmountable joy and vigor.
This is one of those must-sees that everyone should check out at least once in their life, without a doubt.
The Proud Family was nominated for and won several awards including Annie Awards, BET Comedy Awards, Image Awards, Kids’ Choice Awards, NAMIC Vision Awards, and Television Critics Association Awards
n 2002, ABC launched the series as a part of its Saturday morning block, ABC Kids. The series aired in syndication on BET in 2008. It also aired on Toon Disney until February 2009. The Proud Family was also broadcast on The Family Channel inCanada. In 2010, the series began airing on Centric.
The Proud Family Shorties is an Online Cartoon spin-off of The Proud Family created by Bruce W. Smith. It follows the adventures of BeBe & CeCe Proud and Puff the dog.
The Proud Family visit Hawaii on an episode of Lilo & Stitch: The Series entitled “Spats” in which they stay at Jumba & Pleakley’s Bed Not Breakfast and Suga Mama inadvertently activates an experiment that causes spats.
You know what my favorite part of the show was? News Anchorman Al Roker who played this all-powerful reality altering genie kind of dude. It was such a weird idea for a character.
I also liked the Holiday episode where the Prouds took in a poor family and celebrated Kwanzaa with them, and the voices of the family included Samuel L. Jackson, Vivica A. Fox, and Raven-Symone. Ain’t that something?
New YouTube channel! Well, an experiment really, to see if a more fox-centric channel with more, well, fox-related content can help be exposed to more people and so it can be shared :D And of course, her fluffy foxy brother, the cross fox!
Robert Johnson, a former lobbyist for the cable TV industry, launched his on network, Black Entertainment Television (BET), in 1980. It started initially as a two-hour block of programming in Nickelodeon before becoming a 24-hour channel in 1983.
In 1991, BET became the first black-controlled company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. During the 1990s, it expanded its brand, launching digital cable networks featuring films and music programming geared toward black audiences.
Viacom purchased the company in 2001. Johnson retired in 2005.
In addition to BET’s general entertainment, movie and music programming, it produces awards shows like the BET Awards, celebrating African-American entertainers.
The network has not gone without criticism from many parts of the black community. Co-founder Sheila Johnson said in 2010:
“I don’t watch it. I suggest to my kids that they don’t watch it. When we started BET, it was going to be the Ebony magazine on television. We had public affairs programming. We had news… I had a show called Teen Summit, we had a large variety of programming, but the problem is that then the video revolution started up… And then something started happening, and I didn’t like it at all. And I remember during those days we would sit up and watch these videos and decide which ones were going on and which ones were not. We got a lot of backlash from recording artists…and we had to start showing them. I didn’t like the way women were being portrayed in these videos.”
As of 2015, BET Networks (including the main BET network and sister channels BET Gospel, BET Hip-Hop and Centric, a channel geared toward African-American women) is owned by Viacom.
Here’s a 2012 interview with BET founder Robert Johnson about how he launched the network:
Yesterday I received this message on my most recent upload to YouTube, no doubt a dig at the current content being uploaded to the channel but still a fairly accurate comment none the less.
I haven’t really spoken publicly about the direction I’m taking World of the Orange for 2015, mostly because I simply don’t know. So instead I’m just going to explain where I’m at and what’s going on with me and then y’all can rest easy once and for all.
In January this year I started working essentially full time on video editing for an external company. Completely separate from any of the personal editing I’ve been doing for the past 4 years on WOTO.
Reasons for accepting the job as opposed to forging forward with a YouTube-centric career?
The channel wasn’t providing a huge income for me and YouTube’s ever more broken platform for channels with less than 6.8 gazillion existing subscribers didn’t help matters. So yes, money obviously plays a factor. I have rent and bills to pay. I live with my girlfriend and my dog and sometimes we like to eat. Sponsorship deals would poke their heads around the corner from time to time but I’m not hugely into acting or presenting or generally portraying a false version of myself in front of the camera, which seemed to be what most of the offers coming my way required, so most of the opportunities I was turning down anyway.
There have been many incarnations of WOTO but generally people only think of one (2013/#CONTENT era). The channel how it is now is just another regeneration. (I’m aware that’s a Doctor Who reference and I’m sickened by it.) To explain I will have to cover essentially the entire timeline of WOTO. So here goes.
2011/2012. The channel actually started off as a comedy VFX channel. 4 years ago both myself and Liam were slightly below par video editors with some small experience in video effects software like After Effects. So we made little sketches like Epic Mundane Task’s etc.
Then we gave that up. The stress of producing high quality content regularly whilst juggling work and university was insane. So we actually ended the channel. During 2012 we ended the channel. It was dead. We had retired. Resigned to the fact that it simply wasn’t for us. Then at the beginning of 2013 we sat down and turned on a camera, poked fun at the system and broke every rule that YouTube had asked us to follow with their “Creators Handbook” and made a stupid, poorly shot, poorly edited, piss take of a video. Then we did it again… every week, for an entire year. That was the peak of WOTO. The chaotic 2013 era that saw multiple collabs, sofa banter, #CONTENT and nothing but laughter. The second incarnation of WOTO is what most people think of it as being, still, even after Liam left, even now.
At the beginning of 2014 we tried to branch out with our brand. We reached out to radio and television to see if we could push WOTO beyond YouTube and further the brand. We spruced up the channel. We even attempted a longer format (incarnation three) over the summer to test our skills but after 6 months of mostly fruitless attempts we stopped pushing and not long after that Liam wisely decided to throw in the towel.
That was obviously a huge blow to the channel. It left me at square one. I didn’t know how to run a solo channel. Since I can’t do makeup tutorials or direct short films, I was faced with the crossroads of either vlogging or gaming. So I tried vlogging (incarnation four) and I hated it and myself within about 2 weeks. I had spent 4 years honing the skill of bouncing comedy off of my partner in crime Liam, not sitting alone in a bedroom classic vlog style. At the end of the year a pretty decent opportunity was offered to me as an editor. The years of WOTO weren’t fruitless, in fact they honed my skills as an editor better than a performer or comedian. So I took the job expecting to be able to easily continue providing content for the YouTube channel.
There was a transitional period, I moved house and settled in at my new job and it was pretty tough to find time to upload. So I didn’t. But without the guillotine of rent dangling above my head I was able to step back and take a look at the last few months of the channel. Did I want to keep uploading vlog-style solo videos? Is YT even a thing I want to do anymore? Was I just doing it to pay rent?
No, no and yes.
Honestly, I probably could easily keep uploading at least a single video a week but I realised I didn’t want to. For one thing the whole landscape of YouTube has changed so dramatically over the last few years that it’s not even a platform I like anymore regardless of whether I am on it or not.
But aside from that, I found that, bit by bit I was carving away at my own personality. Forcing myself to be very vanilla to appeal to brands and make sure that nobody watching the video would be offended or turned off by anything I said or did. The pressure to be something your not starts to really affect your ability to have fun and enjoy the content you’re creating. WOTO was supposed to be fun first and foremost and frankly it wasn’t anymore. In reality I would never heavily censor myself like that. I had built a version of myself that was starting to feel more like an act than anything else.
Recently, I started live streaming on Twitch in my spare time. Mostly I wanted to chill out after working all day and play a game. But I still love the interaction with an audience so streaming on Twitch seemed like a good idea. The reason I made YouTube videos was to have a laugh with my friend and provide something decent for everyone to watch. The comments on our videos used to make us laugh as much as much as filming the video did. It was like YOU were all involved with us. A huge group of friends from all over the world. But by the end of last year it was just me churning out a video containing a false version of myself in the hopes somebody would pay me enough money to promote something so that I could make rent that month. I had become the same as every other channel on the platform and WOTO made its name by swimming against the current. I no longer represented my own brand. I no longer represented myself.
So for the time being WOTO is in its next incarnation. Number 5. On a whole different platform. And yes, I guess that what’s left on YT is a gaming channel in a way. If you subscribed for me and Liam, we’ll pop up from time to time playing a game. If you subscribed for collabs with other YouTubers on a sofa, that ended 2 years ago. If you subscribed for me then I haven’t really gone anywhere. But if you subscribed for a specific type of content then likely it is gone. Essentially it’s complete overhaul number 5. Me, working as a video editor, then coming home and streaming games and possibly uploading that to YouTube for those who want to see it.
So if you wanna hang out with me this year I’ll most likely be at Twitch.tv/BradWOTO. If you wanna watch whatever bits and bobs I upload to YT then go for it! That’s great! But I think we have to say goodbye to WOTO 1,2,3 & 4 and accept that everything eventually moves on.
Would you ever do a night mind of something everyone thinks is really deep, only to explain why it's shallow and poorly-planned?
Well… that’s tough.
You see, I really like to cover stuff that stands as examples of good work. For a horror-centric channel, I’m really more of a positive kind of entity. I don’t feel good about the idea of picking something up from the indie scene and breaking it over my knee, even if it deserves it.
Now, something like A Christmas Horror Story? They were mainstream and had it coming. Somebody had to tear that garbage up.
But stuff from our field, where everybody is really actively learning and finding their way? It just doesn’t feel very constructive, especially when we’re all kind of watering a sapling, here. Webseries are resurfacing, and creative web projects are getting bigger as a whole, but it’s first time it’s happened since Marble Hornets and the Slenderverse boomtown. Feeding a growing field feels like the main priority if we want it to become strong.
I think a whole lot can be taught by demonstrating what is praise-worthy vs. what’s not. Even so, I’m going to address some things when I do that video course on how to do this stuff (as I’ve learned it) over the winter.
I don’t know. I’m… I guess I’m the Paula Abdul, and I never want to be the Simon Cowell.