Tyler The Creator’s Flower Boy album is out now, but the restless leader of the Odd Future gang could never be satisfied sitting on his laurels. After directing the Cherry Bomb documentary earlier this year, Tyler is set to bring his animated series The Jellies to Adult Swim this summer.
At San Diego Comic-Con, Tyler was asked by a fan about his decision to make the animated series’ lead character, Cornell Jelly, black after having been white in the show’s first season on Tyler’s exclusive “Golf Media” app. Tyler, who co-created Jellies with Lionel Boyce, challenged the fan instead of providing a direct answer: “How many f***ing black cartoon characters is it on TV right now? Name five. I’ll give you time.”
He then answered his own rhetorical question, and explained exactly how he felt about the present dearth of cartoon characters for him to visually relate to.
“They canceled Static Shock. Nobody remembers Fillmore, like, we don’t got sh*t. The only other black character is this f*cking weird ass…oh no, they killed Chef off f*ckng South Park (side note: Chef was voiced by late, great soul singer Isaac Hayes, who controversially left the show over objections to the portrayal of Scientology). So we don’t have sh*t. So I said f*ck that. We about to make this n—- black. He ain’t got no guns. He ain’t shoot no f*ckng basketball. He a f*cking goober. And we gonna put him on TV and he’s the lead character. He ain’t the comic relief, he ain’t the sidekick. He the lead n—-.”
While Tyler may have overlooked The Cleveland Show and the excellent (and also unfortunately canceled) Lucas Bros. Moving Co, he is making a point that many have reiterated over the last couple of years: Representation matters. Even with something as seemingly trivial as a cartoon character, people need to see themselves on screen, and Tyler is putting his money where is mouth is to make that happen. The Jellies is set to premier on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block this summer.