Photos Courtesy Cartoon Network
Photos Courtesy Cartoon Network

In 2018, Cartoon Network’s “Craig of the Creek” was created by award-winning “Steven Universe” alums Matt Burnett and Ben Levin. Although they are not persons of color, they have taken special attention to the inclusion and positive representation of minorities within the series. “Craig of the Creek” puts a nuclear Black family front row and center while developing storylines around a precocious, adventurous kid named Craig Williams (along with his friends) as they go on magical adventures in the creek. Over the last two years, the show has been touted among critics as a racially groundbreaking and progressive series that gets diversity and inclusion right. It’s been praised for accurately portraying and normalizing Black culture with its diverse group of relatable characters and universal narratives. That representation in the show is reflected in Burnett and Levin’s team of Black voice actors, storyboard artists, and writers. The cast includes Philip Solomon (voice of Craig), Terry Crews (voice of Craig’s dad, Duane), Phil LaMarr (voice of Craig’s older brother, Bernard), Lil Rel Howery (voice of Craig’s uncle, Darnell), and Tisha Campbell-Martin (voice of Craig’s aunt, Kim).

The show is riddled with cultural themes and topics that resonate with Black viewers, like me. Some of those special moments include Craig’s grandmother involvement with Civil Rights activism, his mother wearing versatile hairstyles like box braids, and characters sporting paraphernalia from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The show is smart, topical and relevant, especially in today’s climate as the entertainment industry and viewers are seeking positive and accurate representations of the Black experience on the small screen for kids and adults alike. 

The Black women doing the work behind the scenes for “Craig of the Creek” are just as passionate about fostering diversity in representation within media, as the show’s creators. Ashleigh Hairston, show writer and voice of Wren, Najja Porter, storyboard artist, and Tiffany Ford, supervising director on the show, all share the same passion and vigor of introducing culturally diverse storylines and themes to younger audiences and are equally excited to see the show get nominated for an “Outstanding Children’s Animated Series” Emmy Award this year.  

For the full story, visit Forbes.com/EditorsPick.

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