While we’re still celebrating Women’s History Month, there’s been a lot of educational posts to social media about various women (of color specifically) from a wide spectrum of skill sets who have made enormous contributions to society. Instead of adding on to the many editorial offerings out there already, I thought it would be cool to acknowledge some of the women and girls that run the world of children’s television.
These are the seldom celebrated people who represent excellence in kids entertainment. In no particular order, here’s my salute to women and girls of color who have been entertaining me and my son for the past two and a half years.
Us older folks know Cree best for her role as Freddie on A Different World and her brief singing career. What many of us don’t know is the immense contribution her voice has made to various cartoons and video games. In addition to voicing Priscilla the Skunk in Disney’s Sheriff Callie’s Wild West and Maya Kitumba/Tech Bot in Miles From Tomorrowland, Cree has been in the animated version of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, WordGirl, Fresh Beat Band of Spies, Transformers: Rescue Bots and Cartoon Network’s Breadwinners.
As far as video games, she’s voiced Roller Brawler in Skylanders Trap Team, the female Exo character in the blockbuster Destiny, Auriel in Diablo III, Scout Captain Elsia in World of Warcraft and the list goes on. When it comes to the voiceover hustle, Summer is without a doubt the OG and it’s a shame more people haven’t recognized her as such.
Love or hate her crazy behind, Raven-Symonè parlayed her stint as the adorable Olivia on NBC’s The Cosby Show into kid television greatness. Raven dominated children’s programming from Disney’s The Proud Family to That’s So Raven. And The Cheetah Girls turned her into a kid’s legend even though these days she’s more known for nursing her feet with her mouth.
No one can front on Keke’s work ethic as she’s been killing roles since Barbershop 2. But It wasn’t until her run as True Jackson, VP that she’s become a mainstream superstar with the Nickelodeon crowd. While Keke has since made her way into more mature acting roles on Grey’s Anatomy, Family Guy and Scream Queens, she has held the door open for young female actresses to be more than just the sassy Black friend of the star.
For the longest time, the only thing I knew about Zendaya, was that she was smart enough to pull out of the Aaliyah movie role. Instead, she came through hard with Disney’s KC Undercover. What I adore about her show is that KC redefines what a “strong young woman” is in a role where she’s not just the female version of a male spy.
From how I’ve seen her get down in the media’s magnifying glass, I’d bet that Zendaya has quite a bit of input on what goes into her character, which makes her even more amazing. Zendaya’s the least bit corny and I think she’s a great role model for girls and boys alike. In addition to all that, her fighting scenes are epic.
Why Millie Davis doesn’t have a larger name in the acting game is beyond me. In my opinion, her role as Ms. O in PBS’ Odd Squad should give her a higher profile. Ms. O is a hard-nosed leader of a team of kids that solve mathematical mysteries. Think of her as the typical TV police chief who barks orders at her subordinates. Millie’s acting is dead-on and at just nine years old, she’s a star in the making. Liam has imitated at least a dozen of her scenes, including a victorious hand-to-hand fight with a bunch of dinosaurs.