No matter how old you are, there was a time in your life when you were watching cartoons.
You might still even be watching cartoons now.
From some of the oldest TV shows to newer premieres, here are some of the best black cartoon characters to ever grace TV and film.
Black Female Cartoon Characters
In 2009, Disney finally introduced their very first black princess, Princess Tiana, in the movie The Princess and the Frog.
A young girl living in New Orleans, she is smart, headstrong, and talented.
What we most loved about Tiana is that she kept it real and wasn’t going to let anyone tell her how to live her life.
Tiana brought Disney some much needed diversity and we can only hope she’ll bring about more princesses in the future.
While Rugrats started off with a bunch of fair-skinned babies, we all loved the appearance of Susie Carmichael.
Although she originally appeared as Angelica’s enemy, we all loved to watch her help Tommy and his crew stand up to the bully.
Plus, don’t forget that she was rockin’ that yellow dress.
Sometimes you have to say “make it make sense,” and Numbuh 5 will give you that on Code Name: Kids Next Door.
One of the few black characters in the series, Abby is cool, calm, and collected as can be seen by her laidback gear.
Plus, not only is she both book and street smart, but she helps keep the group together when all their ideas seem to clash.
Definitely one of the more popular characters on this list, Penny Proud is a Disney classic.
Voiced by Kyla Pratt, The Proud Family character is a young, ambitious teen who’s trying to make her way through growing up.
Between juggling her friends, school, and her urge to find a boyfriend, she’s just dealing with regular teenage woes.
Another character from The Proud Family, Suga Mama was Penny’s eccentric grandmother.
Not one to play games, she didn’t shy from whooping her adult son’s behind when he needed it.
Voiced by the wonderful Jo Marie Payton, she was sharp, sassy, and full of life.
Garnet is a character that appears on the relatively new show Steven Universe.
A holographic being, she is the combination of two gemstones, Ruby and Sapphire.
Voiced by the singer Estelle, Garnet is actually one of the first cartoon characters to appear in a lesbian relationship.
We see you, Cartoon Network!
One of the most famous black characters of all time, Storm (or Ororo Munroe), is a character from X-Men.
While we all know her from the live action movie remake of the TV series, the mutant often appears in an all-white uniform versus the all-black we’re used to seeing on Halle Berry.
With the ability to manipulate the weather, it’s safe to say that her powers can be seen as out of this world.
If you were growing up in the early 2000s, you knew that Monique was the character that kept it real on Kim Possible.
While everyone saw Ron as her best friend, Monique was the one she went to for girl talk and real talk.
Not one to play games, she always kept it real and had her friend’s best interest at heart.
Tons of us grew up watching the Magic School Bus.
While there were tons of students, Keesha is who we’re here for.
She was the most level-headed of the bunch and was always looking to “get the facts.”
Her role might’ve been as equal as the other students, but being able to watch her on screen definitely gave us the representation we were looking for.
You might remember Michiko Malandro from our 24 Best Black Anime Characters.
A character from the series Michiko to Hatchin, she is a convict who escapes from prison.
She links up with a young girl who she rescues from abusive foster parents.
The two go on a mission to find the young girl’s father.
Yoruichi is another popular anime character.
She appears in the popular series Bleach.
While certainly African American, she appears with purple hair and light brown eyes.
Her character is known for being intelligent and quick-witted.
Recent cartoons are really giving the young girls some aspirations.
Doc McStuffins is a young “doctor” for children only she works on her toys.
Created by Chris Nee, the young Doc McStuffins has been lighting up Disney screens since 2012.
Maxine Gibson is a character from the animated series Batman.
With light brown skin and dark eyes, she’s another character on the list who’s rocking purple hair.
A strong woman, she came from a broken home but came out on top through her intelligence.
Dungeons and Dragons is a popular series from the 1980s.
While it didn’t have a long run, it still left a memory in the minds of fans.
Diana is a young girl in the series who is a gymnast who is known for being kind and selfless.
If you’ve ever watched Teen Titans, you’ll know the character Bumblebee.
While she might be quite a bit arrogant and assertive, as the leader of her tea, she is also talented and highly skilled.
With quite a few abilities, she has extra strength and has great agility and endurance.
Valerie Grey is a character that appears in the Nickelodeon show Danny Phantom.
She’s introduced to the series as a rich, popular classmate of Danny’s before her father loses his job and their fortune.
While they’re first enemies, they soon become friends later in the series.
If you didn’t own a Bratz doll when you were younger, we all wanted one.
One of the main four, Sasha was the African American one.
While it was a little cliche to have her be into the “Hip-Hop Thang,” we still appreciate the representation.
Even so, Sasha was a big dreamer in the animated series.
Gargoyles appeared on Disney in the early 1990s and Eliza Maza was one of the few people on the series, not to mention that she was a black woman.
A police detective, she was an ally to the Gargoyles and often served as their voice of reason.
While she originally started out appearing in Family Guy, we got more of Donna Tubbs-Brown on The Cleveland Show.
Voiced by Sanaa Lathan, she is an attentive wife and while her relationship with her children is rocky, she is also a caring mother to them.
Josie and the Pussycats is an animated TV series that was made from the original comic.
Valerie Brown is a character that appeared on the series as one of the three members of the group.
Excelling at science and mechanics, she’s definitely a black female cartoon character we love to see.
Black Male Cartoon Characters
Frozone is a character that appears in the animated Pixar movie The Incredibles.
Voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, he is the best friend and side-kick to the family.
With the ability to manipulate water, he can create ice and use his powers to freeze objects.
Riley & Huey
We can’t include just one, can we?
Riley & Huey are a packaged deal.
Both brothers are also voiced by Regina King in the series.
While both characters are only 10 years old, they’re involved in a host of adult-like situations.
It’s no surprise this show appeared on the late night Cartoon Network platform Adult Swim.
AJ is a character that appears in the Nickelodeon animated series Fairly Odd Parents.
Best friend to the main protagonist, he is known for being smart and rich.
Alongside his best friends, Timmy and Chester, AJ is one of the unpopular kids at their middle school.
If you’re looking for swag on Nickelodeon, you’ll get it from Gerald Johanssen on Hey Arnold!
Best friend to Arnold, he is the voice of reason for his group of friends.
Rocking his high top, his character is known for being cool headed and street smart.
While he started off on Family Guy, Cleveland would get his own TV series with The Cleveland Show.
His character is known for being patient and sweet to his family, sometimes seemingly being a pushover.
The character is quite intelligent but can sometimes seem a bit dim-witted because of his slow speech.
Hey, hey, hey!
While Bill Cosby is a bit of a taboo subject, this list wouldn’t be complete without his character Fat Albert.
Fat Albert is based off of his childhood friend and is an overweight character who is joined by a number of interesting friends that range from Mushmouth to Russell to Weird Harold.
Another iconic character created by the taboo Bill Cosby is Little Bill.
Appearing on Nickelodeon, the character has an overactive imagination where he thinks up a new scenario everyday.
Smart and happy, the kindergartener usually ends the episode with a recent lesson that he learned.
So Charlie Brown is one of the most iconic cartoon characters of all time, but we’re looking at Franklin, another Peanuts character.
While Franklin’s character is somewhat of a mystery when he first joins the Peanuts gang, it’s clear that he’s a little confused about the neighborhood.
As we see Franklin’s character develop, we learn that he’s a great dancer who can also play a number of instruments.
Oscar Proud appears in the Disney Channel series The Proud Family.
Voiced by Tommy Davidson, he owns a snack factory and is the patriarch of the Proud Family.
Oscar Proud is truly a hilarious character who although he is an adult in the series, he’s constantly causing trouble.
Another popular character from The Boondocks, Robert Freeman is Riley and Huey’s grandfather.
While he is their legal guardian, he might not be the best role model.
Often impatient and proud, he “hates to see a child go unbeaten.”
The character was voiced by the late, great John Witherspoon.
Rallo Tubbs is a character from The Cleveland Show.
While only five years old, his knowledge is well beyond his age, similar to the character Stewie from Family Guy.
While Rallo can be vindictive throughout the series, he does show love for his family from time to time.
The longest running animated series of all time, The Simpsons featured the character, Dr. Hibbert.
Known as the best doctor in the town, he has excessively high prices for his patients.
Always having a smile on his face, Dr. Hibbert is always looking for a way to lighten up situations with his patients.
Static Shock is a TV series about a young African-American boy who gains powers and uses it to fight crime.
Running from 2000 to 2004, it followed Virgil Hawkins, a teen who is exposed to mutagen gas during a fight.
There were quite a few who were exposed to the gas and while they use their powers for evil, Virgil uses his abilities to take them down.
After the original Men in Black film, an animated series was released in 1997.
While Will Smith kind of portrays him as a joker in the movie, the animated character is equally energetic but wants to bring more emotion into the strict and clearcut organization.
Cyborg is another character from the series Teen Titans.
With numerous powers, his character enjoys eating, music, and 4th of July.
He might also be a love interest for Bumblebee, an earlier character on this list.
A character on Justice League, John Stewart is a founding member of Justice League.
A former military man, he was in the Marine Corps before joining the Green Lantern Corps and Justice League.
Cleveland Brown, Jr.
Cleveland Brown Jr. is another character that first appeared on Family Guy before starring in The Cleveland Show.
While the character changed from show to show, Junior is sometimes said to be smart although his characteristics point towards him being lazy and socially awkward.
Vince LaSalle appears on the TV show Recess.
Due to his athletic abilities, he’s known to be a bit arrogant and competitive.
Even so, he’s a great friend to T.J.
Fillmore is the ABC series that follows a young preteen who is a part of the safety patrol at his school.
Based on the 1970s drama, he is a young kid dedicated to catching any perps who break the school rules.
Best Black Cartoon Characters Conclusion
Regardless of the premise, cartoons are something that were a big part of growing up, and if we’re lucky, they continue into our adulthood.
There are tons of classics to appreciate and even a few new shows to dive into.
From Susie Carmichael to Huey and Riley Freeman, who are your favorite black cartoon characters?