It's no secret that many artists out there love to remake/reimagine famous characters, movies, and TV shows. We have seen reimagined Disney characters, Marvel, Harry Potter, and many others. Many artists modernize them, illustrate them in all sorts of situations. What if this character was there? What if this movie was set at a different time?
Well, the artist Tyron Handy decided to join in. He took the characters we all know and love and changed their skin color. In a previous article on Bored Panda, Tyron mentioned that he never felt represented in cartoons, so with this project, his goal is to raise awareness of how misrepresented black people are in cartoons and TV shows: that the shows that do feature black people are filled with stereotypes and racial discrimination, and they're usually just the 'best friend' to the main character.
The artist was faced with all sorts of reactions, with some saying that what he's doing is wrong, that he's just 'keeping racism alive.' However, many are agreeing that this project shows that there is a lack of representation of black people in media. They are happy someone is addressing these issues and support Tyron wholeheartedly, saying that kids would benefit from seeing themselves represented in media in a better way. A lot of people are even asking Tyron to do his own animated series.
The artist told Bored Panda: "What inspired me was I had rarely seen any black cartoon characters on TV. Most of them were the main character's token black best friend or overexaggerated stereotypes. So for fun, I just started reimagining some of my favorite cartoon characters as the black versions of themselves and most of my redesigns took off. It was cool to see a lot of positive reactions toward my artwork."
"My goal is to create my own original black characters and cartoon series and hopefully inspire more black artists to create their own. My comic series Apple Dapple Tactics was created out of boredom. I never really planned to do much with it, but after the first skit went viral on Twitter, I delivered. Currently I'm working on making longer skits that feel more like mini episodes and posting them on my IGTV and YouTube page. I hope to get the series one day on a streaming platform like HBOMax, Hulu, or Netflix. It's always been my dream to see my characters come to life on the screen."
Tyron told us what the goal of his comics is: "There wasn't a specific goal I set for making my cartoon reimaginings. But I guess if there was it was just simply to see the reaction of people seeing these redesigns for the first time and hopefully inspiring others to make some of their own and or make more original black cartoon characters. My main goal is to post more of my original cartoon characters starting now with my comic series Apple Dapple Tactics."
"I've been drawing for as long as I could remember. My daily routine as a kid consisted mainly of me watching cartoons all day and drawing my favorite cartoon characters. I'm self-taught if I see something once I can draw it perfectly from memory at any time."
"Growing up I rarely seen any black cartoon characters on TV. And the ones I did see were mostly always the token black best friend of the main character or a small role side character. I started my illustrations as fun what-if scenarios to see some of my favorite cartoon characters looking more like me."
The artist told us what the reaction to his recreations was: "The reactions from people were mixed lol. But way more positive reactions than there were any negative. The reactions from my followers are what motivates me the most to continue creating more."
We asked Tyron if he thinks TV shows and movies are going in the right direction and are representing people of color in a better way than before: "It's not perfect but I can see there is more of an effort than there was when I was younger. I'm hoping they continue to do better and maybe one day I will be one of the main ones helping with that."
We asked Tyron if he's thinking of making his series: "Yes! I'm trying to focus on my original cartoons more. Right now I'm working on creating longer skits for my comic series Apple Dapple Tactics and making them feel more like mini-episodes. I'm hoping to one day get the series picked up on HBOmax, Hulu, or Netflix. And I have plenty more original cartoon ideas I will reveal soon."
"The support from my followers is what keeps me going the most. I used to be very hesitant with showing my artwork to people before I started posting anything on social media. But I always receive mostly positive responses and that just makes me more excited to share more with my followers."
Here's some advice from the artist if you want to start creating your art: "I would say always challenge yourself with your art. Don't be afraid to learn from others. And focus on finding your style and perfecting it and always have fun creating."
Tyron tells us more about himself: "I was a shy and awkward kid growing up. Lived in a lot of rough communities. Art was my escape it kept me focused and out of a lot of trouble. If it wasn't for art I would most likely be a completely different person."
What do you think of this series? What misrepresentation of people of color have you seen in media? Tell us in the comments down below and upvote your favorite picture. Don't forget to go show Tyron some love and support on his social media pages!