The State of Black Animation 2021+

movies Jun 12, 2021

Recently, I have been having several conversations with friends about animation. Without sounding like a broken record: there seemed to be more variety in subject matter, animation style, and risk-taking in the 80s and 90s compared to work in the later decades.

This could be rose-tinted glasses at work, and also my aversion to 3D animation in general. But, it did give me the idea to look at upcoming animation work by Black artists around the world. This list is by no means exhaustive, but I certainly tried to make it that way. I apologize in advance, this page is image-heavy and video-heavy.

Without further ceremony, here they are:


Battu (TBA)

Self-described as an animated hip-hop musical, it's the brainchild of Chaz Bottoms, founder of CBA Studios.

He has contributed to numerous projects such as Lil Nas X's Panini, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, John Legend's Dear John, and the great animation short All Kids Go to Hell:

You can follow updates on Battu via Kickstarter or Twitter.

Entergalactic

In what will become a running theme throughout this post, Entergalactic was first teased by Kid Cudi in 2019. It's both an album and Netflix animated series that is set to debut in 2022 according to a recent tweet.

Isaura (TBA)

I'm extra hyped for this as it's focused on my birth country of Mozambique.

Isaura is an animated series by a Cape Town-based (South Africa) collective called Lucan. It's about the eponymous girl, who hails from a fishing village in Mozambique and can breathe underwater and talk to sea creatures. Climate change is reportedly a huge theme.

Just look at that beauty!

Iwájú (2022)

Headed to Disney+, this science fiction series is set in Lagos. It's a collaboration between Disney and Kugali, a Nigerian-Ugandan comic book studio. Both parties have been tight-lipped with regards to plot details, but more Afrofuturism is always welcome.

KARIBA (TBA)

I am technically cheating by placing this here. KARIBA was first teased way back in 2015 but it seems to have entered development hell.

I hope The Blue Forest Collective, another Cape Tonian animated house, is still plugging away at this.

Mama K's Team 4 (2022)

Way back in 2019, Netflix announced a collaboration with Triggerfish Animation Studio, a South African outfit that also boasts an office in Galway (Ireland).

This charming-looking show is set in Lusaka, Zambia's capital, and is the story of four super-powered teenage girls who are recruited to save the world. And that's all we have so far.

Triggerfish has more in the works with Netflix AND Disney.

Master (TBA)

One of the executive producers for Master,worked on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The influence is painfully obvious here.

I'll let the trailer speak for itself. Might have me reconsidering my stance on 3D films.

Meet Duncan (Ongoing)

This is an ongoing episodic project that is being delivered via an app. It focuses on a struggling writer and stoner called...err...Duncan.

Peep the first two episodes via iOS and Android. It's a subscription, which is still  somehow a big ask in a world we spend $50 drinking on a weekend. There is a 7-day trial available. There's also an interview with the creator which might push you over the line.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2022)

At D23 in 2019, this show was announced to great fanfare. As seen by the image below, it involves a 13-year old girl with a pet T-Rex. They work together to protect NYC from an interesting set of villains.

My Dad the Bounty Hunter (TBA)

In this action-comedy, two kids find themselves on a spaceship and discover their father is the "toughest bounty hunter" in the Milky Way. Everett Downing, the animated behind Hair Love is working on this :)

Obi (TBA)

Obi Arisukwu's cartoons on Instagram are quite popular; so much that it landed him a show on HBO Max. For those unfamiliar with the comic strip, it's centered on a 30-year-old manchild (with some similarities to Johnny Bravo) with dreams of becoming an artist.

Pritty: The Animation (2022)

Pitched as "bringing Hayao Miyazaki to the hood", Pritty is about growing up Black and queer in Savannah, a town in the southern part of the US. It also intends to show that black boys also have softer and intimate sides, and I hope it succeeds.

Follow along via Kickstarter here.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 (2022)

What more needs to be said about Miles Morales' second adventure? Kemp Powers, one of the creative forces behind Pixar's Soul, is one of the co-directors here.

Tiana (2023)

Tiana's story is set to continue in 2023 in the form of a musical-comedy series. It explores her life as the princess of Maldonia and her hometown of New Orleans.

The Boondocks (Reboot)

HBO Max is already lining up new subscribers with a modern re-imagining of the Freeman family. Series creator Aaron McGruder, who was absent for the last season of the show, is running things again.

This time, Huey, Riley, and Granddad are rallying against Uncle Ruckus' tyrant government. GIFs at the ready.

The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder (2022)

The nostalgic hits keep on coming and The Proud Family is no exception. They'll grace our screens by way of Disney+. The original cast and producers will be returning too.

Young Love

A 2D animated series based on the wildly celebrated and award-winning Hair Love short film. It's scheduled to be released on HBO Max and is a continuation of the story there.

And there you have it!

As you can see, the next year is going to be STACKED in terms of content and it's all pretty diverse. Plus there are some projects that are likely to come out in 2023.

Exciting times!


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