Mike Henry, a white actor, has voiced Cleveland Brown, a black character, for 18 seasons of Family Guy and four seasons of The Cleveland Show, but no longer.
“It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role,” he recently tweeted, following Kristen Bell and Jenny Slate stepping away from their roles on Central Park and Big Mouth, respectively. (The Simpsons will also “no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” including Dr. Hibbert, Carl, and Pedro Chespirito, a.k.a. Bumblebee Man.) Family Guy didn’t announce who will replace Henry as the voice of Cleveland, but one The Wire star hopes he gets the part.
Now that Mike Henry has consciously given up the role of Cleveland,I am publicly starting a campaign to voice the role myself on The Cleveland Show. #WendellIsCleveland @TheClevelandSho @SethMcFarlane_ pic.twitter.com/Ux3F0uk1p6
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) June 28, 2020
“Now that Mike Henry has consciously given up the role of Cleveland, I am publicly starting a campaign to voice the role myself on The Cleveland Show,” Wendell Pierce, who played Bunk on the HBO series and recently appeared in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, tweeted. (The Cleveland Show ended in 2013, so let’s assume he meant Family Guy.) He added the hashtag #WendellIsCleveland. The campaign is catching on.
. @WendellPierce is not only one of the most talented dudes I know but someone you’ll love hangin with!
— Michael Kelly (@michaeljkellyjr) June 29, 2020
— Capital B Black (@tasha_mc) June 29, 2020
— Cee Elle (@BizpreneurBabe) June 29, 2020
— Scott Yager (@SHOTOFYAGER) June 29, 2020
— Charles T (@ChuckyT3) June 28, 2020
Considering Family Guy‘s love of jokes that stretch on forever, I can imagine an episode that’s Cleveland saying “sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-it” for 22 minutes. (It’s hard finding new ideas after 18 seasons.) Make it happen, Seth MacFarlane.