WHEN BLACK CHILDREN LEARNED HOW TO SPEAK FROM CARTOONS
Disney's new cartoon The Princess and the Frog has an African-American heroine speaking picture perfect King'sEnglish, but it's taken a long time to get to this point. Do you remember when Disney had given us the jive-talking crows – one of whom is actually named Jim Crow and Fox gave us Heckle and Jeckle "The Talking Magpies". We watched all the 60s cartoons as kids overlooking racist speech patterns because we looked beyond the lips and slow talking English and the laissez faire federal government did the same not interfering in the racist workings of Disney and others because the federal government was just as racist in the 60s.
Then came the 1970s Cosby kids a group of urban adolescents learning a series of valuable life lessons while hanging out in their Philadephia neighborhood. Members of the group include Fat Albert, Mushmouth, Dumb Donald and Weird Harold. This cartoon became Black children relatable because they were talking and looking like us and not like some southern slang talking birds.
The Cosby kids brought about an urban English because comedian Bill Cosby, lent his voice to a number of characters, including Fat Albert. After the Cosby kids, came the Jackson Five cartoon that took language to another level far beyond the Cosby Kids neighborhood in Philadelphia and more like Encino California; also with a world of differences in dress and behaviors. The Jackson 5ive was a Saturday morning cartoon series produced by Rankin/Bass and Motown Productions on ABC from September 11, 1971, to October 14, 1972; a fictionalized portrayal of the careers of Motown recording group the Jackson 5. The series was rebroadcast in syndication through during the 1984–1985 Saturday morning season, during a period when Michael Jackson was riding a major wave of popularity as a solo artist. It also briefly re-aired in 1999.
Those were the early 70s and 80s then came the culture shock 28 years later after the Cosby kids and Jacksons debut. 1999 presented Eddie Murphy cartoon called 'The PJs' with Thurgood Stubbs who lives with his wife, Muriel, in the Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs housing project, where he is the superintendent. This animated comedy follows the adventures of the Stubbs and their friends, while taking a satirical view of the ups and downs of life in a big-city housing project. This was the first cartoon that introduced characters with different English dialects from a Crackhead to Caribbeans, a voice box and an Ebonic talking superintendent and a much so proper and pleseant talking wife Muriel. What else or who else did we have to learn speech from when the cartoons imitated the streets. The only proper talking individuals in the neighborhood were the preachers, insurance man, police officers and judges.