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  • Oh my gosh, I have a quote from you, I saved it on my phone shattering the glass ceiling pew, Pew, pew pew.

  • Hey everyone, I am LaToya Raphael, I'm an executive producer and writer and a director for the proud family louder and prouder and I'm Tara Nicole Whittaker director of the animated series, the proud family, louder and prouder.

  • So LaToya, thank you so much for joining me here on Disney plus voices to discuss what we know has been historical lack of representation of black women in the media, especially in animation.

  • I'm so glad we get to talk about this and everything this show is doing to change that.

  • Tell me about your ST lucian background and how that has influenced your work on the proud family, louder and prouder.

  • I just feel like you don't see a lot of stories about black people from like other parts of the diaspora and on proud family.

  • It was the first time I got to tell a story about like a character that isn't like that is black from Caribbean descent or black from like afro latino descent.

  • It's cool how the proud family looks at different versions of being like a black person and like really validates and celebrates that.

  • Absolutely yeah, you're killing it.

  • Like I you are the first black female director I've ever worked with and it's been amazing working with you.

  • Likewise girl can you share how you got into directing animation and how your family influenced your career.

  • I was always reading about animation and about film even when I was pretty little um and both of my parents were really creative in their own way.

  • So they always really supported my interest in the arts and it was always something that was in the house when I grew up.

  • You know, my mom would be singing and I would be drawing and painting.

  • Um so you know, very grateful and and feel so fortunate to have two black parents that were very supportive of me at an early age.

  • So when we talk about being historically left out of these positions of power in the media, how do you feel about that?

  • Because I mean, I know it makes me feel some kind of way.

  • Oh yeah, I feel I do feel like the responsibility to tell true and authentic stories as much as I can.

  • Um and I think about how representation from the top down matters, especially when it comes to how black folks are represented in tv as a black woman.

  • Um what made the proud family louder and prouder different from any other projects you've directed and what made it so special to things that I think stand out to me is the first show I've ever worked on where the main character and 90% of the supporting characters are either black or persons of color.

  • It is also the first show I've ever worked on where I am not the only black person on the show.

  • I've only ever worked, where I am literally the only person in this space making this project that can speak to the usually one like black character that we are portraying and it felt like there was kind of this like pressure two to be like oh what would you as a black person do?

  • And I'm like I am not the ambassador for Black.

  • So it's just it's so nice not having to be the ambassador for black people.

  • Exactly, exactly, Exactly.

  • You know, and my experience is a lighter skinned black woman is going to be very, very different from someone who's deeper tone so it's like I can't speak for all of us, you know what I mean?

  • Like, but I have felt empowered to use my position to address colorism as much as I can in my artwork.

  • I'm sure this happens on some of your episodes where it's like we've had conversations about character skin tones and kind of tried to keep track of like how is this character portrayed?

  • What is their skin tone as much as possible not falling into like oh this darker complected character is cast as this or this lighter complected characters cast as this and I do feel you know that pressure and responsibility to try and you know, represent us in the best light possible which is you know, it's an it's an incredible task and it's almost it's almost too much, I can't represent all of us.

  • Obviously like I'm curious like did being the only black person and the only black woman in those rooms were you tailoring your behavior because of that at all.

  • Um you know, I did feel the pressure to always give, you know, 200% to everything I was working on.

  • Um and you know, that is a lot of pressure that I put on myself because you know, I wanted to open the door for the next generation of young black artists, so I was like, I have to do well personally because you're the beta test.

  • Exactly, yeah, and I wanted to make sure I was opening doors for the next round of young black creatives.

  • I do totally agree that having on proud family, especially having like Bruce and ralph kind of creating this space where everybody felt super safe and I've never been on a show like that before, where I was I was allowed to vocalize the way that things seemed maybe that they could be more authentically portrayed or they could be more like genuine or lean into something that's like, oh actually when I was a 14 year old black girl, this is what I did.

  • So like yeah, that was that was life changing man.

  • Exactly, exactly.

  • And I feel like we did have a very diverse crew and anyone who had, you know, strong feelings about anything where you know, encouraged to speak up and bring their thoughts to the table.

  • So what are your thoughts on the representation of the L G B T Q plus community and the evolution of the traditional family dynamics in this series?

  • That was really incredible to me that the show went.

  • The places that went when talking about like L.

  • G B T Q plus um you know, subject matter I identify as you know, a queer woman and it it hit home for me because I have, you know, had these sorts of conversations with my mom.

  • I think that showing the evolution of Oscar's mentality towards the LGBTQ experience and black LGBTQ people was super reflective of what it felt like.

  • Like as a black L.

  • G B.

  • T.

  • Q plus person, I'm really proud of what we're, what we're, what we did and I think we are just starting to scratch the surface and I think that's a wonderful thing.

  • But I would look forward to the day where it is normalized and you know, there's multiple characters because there's, I mean it's like not all they are right.

  • Like that's that's I think when it, when you'll know that, oh it's fully normalized is when it's not like this whole story is about how this character is quick.

  • So yeah exactly.

  • What was it like for you to work on a series, like the proud family louder and prouder with such a strong female lead.

  • Like Penny, do you think it will influence and change the next generation of Children.

  • I do have a very special episode that's dear to my heart where they're speaking out and standing up to injustice and racism and I think it's just a powerful thing for kids to see that hey, you know, your voice matters but you do matters, you you know might be young, but you still have the power to make a change.

  • Were you a penny?

  • Like do you, do you feel like you had a voice to kind of speak up against these sorts of things?

  • I really did feel like my words mattered.

  • My thoughts mattered.

  • Um and yeah, I definitely let my voice ring loud and proud whenever I was always a rebel.

  • Yes, I went through kind of this weird Evan flow of having a voice where it's like when I was a little kid, I was a diva and then I guess somewhere around like late middle school high school, I don't know what happened, but I felt like I was suddenly very aware of the fact that I was the only black person in my group of friends.

  • I started to like quiet myself and because I didn't want to be like, you know, the angry black woman, I feel like I forgot how to feel the emotion of anger for a long time because it was like, never be bad, you never be bad.

  • And I feel like the proud family has really, I don't know if you feel sorry, but like it's kind of given me permission to like just be me again.

  • Like in a way, I haven't been in a long time.

  • What would you say are the pitfalls of being at the forefront of authentically portraying black lives?

  • It's challenging or it's especially challenging because when you're the first you are going to do things wrong, I want to hear the black community's response to this portrayal so we can keep getting better at the portraying of black people.

  • Absolutely, we have not all had the same experiences.

  • Um You know, some some things connect us all obviously.

  • Um but I think when there's more diversity and representation in TV and film overall, you know, more stories representing more of us can be told.

  • So it's not like, you know, we have to try and fit every black experience into like 20 minutes.

  • The only way to kind of show different types of black experiences is to have different types of black people on the screen.

  • And I I really loved DNA for this because I feel like she's become such a complex character and I love that.

  • And I really hope in the next season we get to push these characters more out of their archetypes because yeah, we just need more, more black people more, more, more more more more.

  • How do you think we can pass on the lessons that we've learned and get more representation on both sides of the camera?

  • I think we need to recognize that young black creatives looking to break into the industry our well of untapped potential, you know, and creativity as much as anyone else.

  • And they just need to be given a shot.

  • I think we just need these studios and I'm really grateful to what Bruce did and what Disney allowed us to do.

  • Kind of putting untested black talent that have the skills, but not the experience, right?

  • Yeah.

  • Into these shows and just watching them thrive exactly, exactly.

  • The girl has been really great connecting with you today.

  • Always hang out.

  • Let's do this again.

  • Absolutely makes my day to see you.

  • But thank you so much for joining me in this amazing conversation, literally anytime.

  • Thank you everyone for joining us on Disney Plus Voices.

  • And please make sure to watch the proud family louder and prouder.

  • Now streaming on Disney plus.

  • Mm hmm.

Oh my gosh, I have a quote from you, I saved it on my phone shattering the glass ceiling pew, Pew, pew pew.

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A2 black proud black person louder family character

Black Women in Animation | Disney+ Voices

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    林宜悉 posted on 2022/03/07
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