As numerous TV episodes have been yanked from circulation over depictions of Blackface in recent weeks, the animated television space has also begun its long-overdue reckoning with racism. Both Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell announced that they would be stepping down from voicing Black characters in Big Mouth and Central Park, respectively, while The Simpsons has pledged to no longer have white actors voice characters of color (and it only took 31 seasons!). Family Guy voice actor Mike Henry has similarly resigned from his role on the long-running animated series, in which he plays Peter Griffin’s token Black friend. Henry, who also voiced the character in the spinoff The Cleveland Show, announced his decision last week, saying, “I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role.”
It doesn’t look like Family Guy will have a hard time finding Henry’s replacement, as Wendell Pierce has graciously offered to step in. Pierce, who starred in the David Simon series The Wire and Treme, launched a campaign to voice Cleveland Brown on Twitter—interestingly referencing The Cleveland Show, which ended after four seasons in 2013, instead of Family Guy. Either Pierce is unaware that the spinoff ended, or he’s taking a humorous jab at Family Guy. Or maybe he hopes his casting will revive the spinoff, and honestly, why the hell not! Look, Wendell Pierce is out here publicly offering his services, and the creators of Family Guy would be FOOLS to not take him up on it.
David Simon (hilariously) co-signed Pierce’s bid for the role, and even offered to write the first half-hour episode should he be cast.