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Amplifying Black Voice Actors in Anime


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GNPixie



Joined: 25 Jul 2018
Posts: 110
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:03 pm Reply with quote
Its probably just me but I really wasn't a fan of Silverstein's Char in in The Origin in comparison to Kopsa but his F.F. is pretty great. It might be because I was exposed to Kopsa's take first though.
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KitKat1721



Joined: 03 Feb 2015
Posts: 359
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:13 pm Reply with quote
Yes, thank you for this feature! Awesome stuff ANN!
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Northlander



Joined: 10 Feb 2009
Posts: 820
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:15 pm Reply with quote
I only really remember it from one picture, and it's not an anime per se, but wasn't Yugiri from Final Fantasy XIV voiced by a black woman? You know, the woman who were killed together with her children by their husband/father?
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Punch Drunk Marc



Joined: 04 Oct 2013
Posts: 1536
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:37 pm Reply with quote
Great piece. A bunch of these actors, some I didn't, and there were some I knew about but didn't know were black (like Mela Lee and Keith Silverstein). That's why it always baffles me when people claim there aren't enough enough Black VAs. There's a lot of them, people just don't pay attention and do the research.
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 3987
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:42 pm Reply with quote
This may sound a bit stupid, but I never knew Keith Silverstein was black. I've seen his photo before, however at a glance it's hard to tell.

Beau Billingslea is definitely the most iconic of all of them, he's like the James Earl Jones of Anime. He was also the narrator in Outlaw Star.

There are more than I had thought(I knew the man who played Hol Horse was black), yet I'm not surprised, when most of their roles are either Japanese, and most none Japanese characters are either white Americans or Europeans, you are not going to hear anyone sounding any different from the white actors.
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Minos_Kurumada



Joined: 04 Nov 2015
Posts: 224
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:09 pm Reply with quote
Remember when HeroAca used a black VA for a black character and people complained because he sounded too black?

Sometimes you can't win, this people would lose their minds in LATAM, every character is some mexican guy.
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Divineking



Joined: 03 Jul 2010
Posts: 1247
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:33 pm Reply with quote
Punch Drunk Marc wrote:
Great piece. A bunch of these actors, some I didn't, and there were some I knew about but didn't know were black (like Mela Lee and Keith Silverstein). That's why it always baffles me when people claim there aren't enough enough Black VAs. There's a lot of them, people just don't pay attention and do the research.


Hey I'm the guy who wrote the article. I agree there's more Black VAs in the industry than who are generally well-known, but we could certainly stand to see a lot more. For all the actors that were mentioned only a few of them are well-known or have had leading roles, and last year alone had over 100 English dubs in production, so yeah, there could stand to be more diversity than what we're currently getting.
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Punch Drunk Marc



Joined: 04 Oct 2013
Posts: 1536
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:39 pm Reply with quote
Divineking wrote:
Punch Drunk Marc wrote:
Great piece. A bunch of these actors, some I didn't, and there were some I knew about but didn't know were black (like Mela Lee and Keith Silverstein). That's why it always baffles me when people claim there aren't enough enough Black VAs. There's a lot of them, people just don't pay attention and do the research.


Hey I'm the guy who wrote the article. I agree there's more Black VAs in the industry than who are generally well-known, but we could certainly stand to see a lot more. For all the actors that were mentioned only a few of them are well-known or have had leading roles, and last year alone had over 100 English dubs in production, so yeah, there could stand to be more diversity than what we're currently getting.


This is true, but you also have to factor in that some actors of them may not want to pursue VA work full time, especially with how grueling it can be and how little it pays if you arent at the tippy top . For some its just in between work while they wait on more major gigs in TV or the stage. Its a good way to fill out a portfolio.

I'm just glad that there are some period.
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Silver Kirin



Joined: 09 Aug 2018
Posts: 330
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:43 pm Reply with quote
Since I'm from latin-amercia I only watch anime dubbed into neutral spanish and subtitled if it doesn't have an official dub, still, I'm fascinated with English dubs of anime and I have to say that Cowboy Bebop is truly one of those shows that sounds amazing in English.
It is incredible to see that the USA dubbing industry has so many talented and diverse people working in it.
If I had to mention an latin-american voice of african descent the only one that comes to my mind is Kalimba Marichal, he voiced Kitaro in the 90s version of Ge Ge Ni Kitaro, and some characters in DBZ, Cowboy Bebop and Slam Dunk, but he also voiced cartoon characters like the Arnold in Hey Arnold! and did the singing voice for Simba in The Lion King, however he retired from voice-acting to continue his music career.
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Lactobacillus yogurti



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
Posts: 776
Location: Latin America
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:47 pm Reply with quote
Silver Kirin wrote:
Since I'm from latin-amercia I only watch anime dubbed into neutral spanish and subtitled if it doesn't have an official dub, still, I'm fascinated with English dubs of anime and I have to say that Cowboy Bebop is truly one of those shows that sounds amazing in English.
It is incredible to see that the USA dubbing industry has so many talented and diverse people working in it.
If I had to mention an latin-american voice of african descent the only one that comes to my mind is Kalimba Marichal, he voiced Kitaro in the 90s version of Ge Ge Ni Kitaro, and some characters in DBZ, Cowboy Bebop and Slam Dunk, but he also voiced cartoon characters like the Arnold in Hey Arnold! and did the singing voice for Simba in The Lion King, however he retired from voice-acting to continue his music career.


To be fair, I think there aren't a lot of people of African descent in Mexico... ANd yes, most anime dubs happen in Mexico.
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zawa113



Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 7292
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:26 pm Reply with quote
Awesome article! I'll admit I play more games than watch dubbed anime, so sometimes I'll need to look through and go "Oh wow! They voiced this character in Persona 5 or the Danganronpa series!" and then the voice can pop into my head almost instantly. They're all just so damn good and I'm glad to know more about the people behind those voices!

I'm also noticing that it seems like almost EVERYONE voiced someone in Fire Emblem Three Houses (I'll need to start playing that soon)
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enurtsol



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 13922
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:59 pm Reply with quote
Black actors / actresses tend to gravitate more towards Western animation due to representation
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Gemnist



Joined: 10 Feb 2016
Posts: 1613
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:27 pm Reply with quote
I’m a total dub fan, yet legitimately had no idea that Keith Silverstein and Mela Lee were African American. Laughing

Regardless, diversity is something sorely needed in the community, so thank you ANN for showing this brief yet revealing spotlight on the talent that will hopefully make way for many more to come.
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Eivion



Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 560
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:38 pm Reply with quote
Haven't watched many dubs the last decade or so so I had no idea how many more black VAs entered the industry. Its nice to see.
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TsukasaElkKite



Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 3337
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:46 pm Reply with quote
This is a fantastic list!
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