The Proud Family
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this animated series isn't like others in which race is incidental to the situation comedy. Instead, the show depicts Penny and her friends as the African-American kids they are.
What's the story?
Many cartoons offer a mixed-race cast of sweet kids who all basically look and act the same and barely resemble real kids. THE PROUD FAMILY tries something different. The series features only one white character and attempts to bring African-American culture to the foreground. Destiny's Child sings the show's theme song, and other African-American artists and performers make guest appearances. Executive producer Bruce Smith began his own studio with the goal of producing ethnically diverse projects, and modeled The Proud Family partly on his own family.
Is it any good?
Viewers who've been taught cultural sensitivity might wonder if it's OK to laugh when Penny (voiced by Kyla Pratt) gives her slim white friend Zoey (Soleil Moon Frye) a makeover and puts a pillow in her skirt to give her more backside. And parents may question the political point of having a famous basketball player named Wizard Kelly be obscenely wealthy, owning everything in town. When positive depictions of a culture are already underrepresented on television, is it OK for a cartoon to exaggerate cultural traits and poke fun at them?
Whatever your family thinks about the cultural and ethnic balances of the show, The Proud Family offers kids approaching or entering their teens relatable stories, strong parental role models, and zany comedy from the colorful family. Penny's mother and father (a veterinarian and snack maker, respectively) push her to do the right things socially and in school and in turn learn a lot about their daughter's independent character and maturity.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the media tends to depict minority groups. What stereotypes have you seen in TV shows and movies? Do you think any of them appear here? If so, how are they used?
Is it possible to use stereotypes positively?