5 Black Female Cartoon Characters You Should Know

This past week on Facebook, just about everyone I knew changed their avatar to a cartoon character. The intent behind the animation, was to raise awareness of child abuse. While I am often skeptical of Facebook-driven awareness campaigns (the main question being – OK, NOW what?) I found this campaign to be quite cute and heartwarming to behold. As a cartoon junkie, I definitely approved.

And I hope everyone who’s changing their avatars also finds time to please donate to Childhelp.org, or RAINN.org, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network – they’re matching donations from now through December 31!
I have yet to change my Facebook avatar for this drive, but if and when I do, it’ll probably be one of these five awesome black female cartoon characters!

Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats.

Black female cartoon characters - Valerie

Valerie was the original cool rocker chick. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to be like her, back in the day. Am I the only one who lived for Josie and the Pussycats? I was raised on these reruns!

Oh, the Seventies. A time when every cartoon had a mischevious cat or monkey or alien ready to mess things up for the bad guys. Valerie was always cute and groovy, and Josie and the Pussycats endured on through the decades, becoming a live action film. Recently Valerie got some media attention when Archie and her hooked up.

black female cartoon characters

It proved to be a short lived romance (aren’t they all, Archie? Aren’t they all?) Valerie’s popularity lives on, with or without him. And ahem – Valerie has her own MySpace page, y’all. You’re welcome!

Iridessa.

Black female cartoon characters - Iridessa

I WISH Iridessa was around when I was little! This luminous friend of Tinkerbell’s only made her debut in 2005, when she was introduced along with the other Disney Fairies in a book called Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg. Since then Iridessa has appeared online, in the theme parks, and in films – where she’s voiced by the beautiful Raven-Symone. Iridessa is a “light fairy” who lives in a sunflower. She’s described as a bit of a worrier who likes order, and she loves lemon meringue pie. The more you know!

Indigo from Rainbow Brite.

Rainbow Brite was THE IT TOY when I was six or seven years old. I remember being transfixed by the animated films and the cartoon. And I wanted the dolls SO SO much. I believe I eventually did get some kind of Rainbow Brite doll (who may have been a knockoff). Sadness. There behind the scenes with Rainbow Brite, was her friend Indigo. She’s known as a shy, artistic dreamer with high aspirations. No wonder I always loved her!

Orange Blossom – Strawberry Shortcake’s friend

Confession: when I was five, I stole an eraser from one of my classmates. It was a Strawberry Shortcake eraser and smelled delicious. And it was shaped like Custard the Cat. I knew it was wrong, but I HAD TO HAVE IT. All these years later, I’m sorry for being a thief. But I still LOVE anything and everything Strawberry Shortcake. Blame it on the Eighties. Strawberry Shortcake had a crew of cool friends, and Orange Blossom was there from the very beginning. (OMG, we’re the same age!!). Her skin tone and hair has changed a LOT through the years, but I’m sure her scent remains as sweet as ever!

Susie Carmichael from ‘Rugrats.’

Rugrats came later in my childhood, and they were NEVER cute to me…but I always had a soft spot for little Susie Carmichael. Her hair was always so cute and so fun, and I always loved her voice (done wonderfully by Cree Summer!). Susie was always helpful, sweet, stylish and smart. Sadly, a planned spinoff for Susie and her family never took place before Rugrats went off the air.

**BONUS mention, I completely forgot about Shana from Jem!


My friend Maya Henderson just reminded me on Twitter. How could I have forgotten about Jem’s drummer? Loved Jem!

Also, in the course of this research I discovered the blog Black Superheroines, which is awesome!! Hoping for more posts soon!

Did you change your avatar on Facebook this weekend? What are your thoughts, and which cartoon is your favorite?

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing. I could have used one of these. LOL. I selected ‘Tiana’ from The Princess frog because I couldn’t find or remember an AA female cartoon from my child hood.

    Thanks again.

  2. LOL! I chose Valerie as my FB profile pic! I loved watching the reruns on Cartoon Network. Val was smart, cute, and knew how to rock; what better cartoon character could anyone ask for, lol. Great post!

    PS – Susie Carmichael! I forgot about her; she was a fave of mine as well =)

    -bc

  3. There was also a Black girl in my fav Saturday Morning Cartoon, Dungeons and Dragons. Her name is Diana.

  4. Storm! For me in the 90s, she was a great black cartoon character jumping out of the comic books

  5. I didn’t change my avatar because my avatar is already a cartoon, of myself. LOL! But OMG, I had an Orange Blossom doll! I had totally forgotten about it. Thanks for this trip down memory lane!

  6. Lola Anderson says:

    Good looking out. I like your sense of humor and style in the toons you chose. I will be donating to the causes and am following you on Twitter. Peace and Blessings!

  7. Can I get a shoutout for Keesha from “The Magic School Bus”?

    “Oh bad, oh bad, oh bad bad bad!” :-)

  8. Number 5 from Kids Next Door. It’s so new school but it’s still one of my favorite cartoons of all time. She’s also voiced by Cree Summer who ALSO played her evil older sister named Cree :).

  9. Love the post! As a kid I was always on the look for black girls in cartoons, though most of them (like the girl from Jem) barely got a line per episode, let alone a fleshed out personality! Thanks for linking to black superheroines!

  10. Thanks for sharing! I changed my profile picture to the Smurfs!

    You forgot Penny Proud! :)

  11. Yes!! Numbah 5 and her older sister.
    Susie Carmichael
    Storm
    Indigo
    and my favorites: Shana from Jem and the Holograms (didn’t she marry the photographer?) and Orange Blossom!!

    OMG and THE ENTIRE CAST OF THE PROUD FAMILY!!
    Tiana gets an honorable mention because of how she says: “there is NO way I am eatin’ a buug and kissin’ a frog in the same day!”

  12. Thank you for reminding of these black cartoons! I did not pick a black cartoon character for my profile pic this time, though I’ve had Susie Charmichael as my profile pic before. I forgot all about Keesha on Magic School Bus, and just last week I was thinking about The Proud Family. So much nostalgia. No other character comes to my mind.

  13. Hey Bellas! I love this post. I absolute loved Rainbow Brite’s friend Indigo but when I was 5 Strawberry Shortcake’s black homegirl was Blueberry Muffin… what ever happened to her? The new generation is cool and stylish but can i get a Strawberry Shortcake throwback?

    • I don’t believe I have ever seen Blueberry Muffin (from Strawberry Shortcake) depicted as anything other than Caucasian. It would be interesting to see if she in fact originated as a “black” character and somehow evolved into the more familiar version you find in today’s searches.

  14. I forgot about Dungeons & Dragons. I loved that cartoon.
    I changed my avatar to Malificent of Sleeping Beauty. She was green, but I always thought she was the most beautiful villianess ever. I was always taken by her features. I saw something familiar in her eyes and jawline. Every year I swear I will convert my natural fro into her horned ebony headress.

  15. amberchella says:

    As an 80′s kid, I was a Strawberry Shortcake fanatic! …I mean EVERYTHING Strawberry… Orange Blossom has always been my favorite. One character, Gaia from Captain Planet was totally awesome. She was “the spirit of the earth” and voiced by (my then favorite actress) Whoopi Goldberg. But, I’m not sure if she was supposed to be black.

  16. I loved this post. Susie from Rugrats was also a favorite of mine when my son was young :) I didn’t change my Facebook profile but it would have been Susie.

  17. Hellllooooo! Patti Mayonnaise!! I totally pretended she was Black, even if she wasn’t! Loved her!

  18. Thank you for posting these! Wonderful to behold!

  19. who knew??? i went for attitude, judy jetson. wish she woulda had some color though, must admit. white hair, white everything.

  20. Valerie. Can’t say that I like Archie though.

  21. LOVE this post!! Awwwww Susie was my favorite :)

  22. Thanks for taking me back down memory lane! I was and still am a fan of Josie and the Pussycats!! It was my favorite Saturday morning cartoon. I was so attracted to the music and the band. By the way, Valerie was the with the “intellect.” Especially when it came to getting the group out trouble.

  23. Lets not forget Scooby Doo and Daffy Duck! Them brothers kept it real.

  24. Anybody remember Iris from Rose Petal Place?

    • Heck Yeah! I had the doll for the longest. I lost the dress and I remember she had green legs and a teardrop crystal in her petal hair… just beautiful!

  25. I’d be Claudia Grant from Robotech. Love her, love her hair :D

  26. My facebook picture was Storm from the X-Men!!! She was gorgeous, strong, and knew how to make it rain…literally, of course. lolol

  27. How could we all forget the baddest super crime fighting aces on sesame street?! History people! :) I changed mine to Smart Suzy Sunset of the Billy Joe Jive cartoons. If you look closely you’ll see a Shaft poster in the beginning song… There were a bunch of miscellaneous black cartoon charcaters on Sesame street from back in the day…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zl7WPwTuog&feature=related

    Smart Susy Sunset and the girl who remembers “a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter” and Yo yo, master and the lost kid are my FAVORITES from sesame street, not to mention all the oldies from the Electric Company! Please don’t get me started :)

  28. Also, I loved Rocko’s Modern Life…Ms. Bighead, Heiffer… Doesn’t everyone feel like a cow raised by a pack of wolves at some point in their lives? lol

  29. Ok last one… Goo from Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends… Black girl rocking yellow cowboy boots and braids… so adorable!

  30. Valerie was my favorite black character cuz we had the same first and last names. Love her!!

  31. PrivilegeBingo says:

    I know this post is old but… Agura Ibaden from Battle Force 5 (please look her up if interested). Tough as nails, beautiful, huntress/wildlife expert and second-in-command on the team. She’s descended from an African princess.

  32. It’s really very interesting to make a black female cartoon character as facebook profile picture. And if I have to choose a black female cartoon character for my facebook profile I would prefer Gaia, who belongs to captain America cartoon series and always helped the kids.

  33. pinkandloop says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing. Hopefully this will inspire African-American cartoonists and children fiction writers!

  34. The only one I remembered was Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats. Thanks. Black female cartoon characters are really rare and you never give it a thought unless someone points it out to you. You don’t miss what you’re not exposed to.

  35. Zachary Jean says:

    Love this article and the comments. Growing up in the 1970s there was an AA married couple, Superstretch and Microwoman, who appeared on the Tarzan and the Super 7 cartoon series. I wouldn’t say the cartoon was very good, the jokes were terrible even by my 8 year-old’s standards (Superstretch, who could stretch into objects, at one point turns into a bicycle pump and then complains about having “athlete’s mouth”) but Microwoman actually looked like a real person, which was a decision the producers made way-back-when that still fascinates me to this day when you consider how few superheroes of any race resembled anyone you might actually meet on the street.

  36. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now
    each time a comment is added I get several emails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Bless you!

  37. Courtney Hall Lee says:

    I had an Orange Blossom baby doll and when you squeezed her belly her breath smelled like oranges which seems sort of strange but she was EVERYTHING. I have a five year old and we like Iridessa and the other Disney Fairies here.

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