In June, a reckoning of sorts came for white actresses who voiced animated Black characters on television: Jenny Slate stepped down from voice acting duties on Netflix’s Big Mouth, as did Kristen Bell on Apple TV’s Central Park. Bell’s biracial character, Molly, will be voiced by Hamilton actress Emmy Raver-Lampman going forward, with Bell appearing on Friday’s The Late Show to explain why she took the role in the first place. “There were no characters when we decided to do it,” Bell explained about the show’s creative team, which includes Loren Bouchard and Josh Gad. “Over the course of writing it, they decided, Oh, half of our friends are Black and half of us are white, let’s do it about a biracial family. At the time that seemed, Oh, cool.” It was only recently that the Central Park team realized “there’s no decision too small to move progress.”
“I was the only character playing outside my race to fit into my ‘family.’ About three months ago we said, ‘This doesn’t feel right,’” Bell said. “If there’s one girl who can find an opportunity in this role, she should have it. I want everybody watching this show, especially little girls of color, to know the voice that comes out of Molly is a person of color.” Bell added that she’ll be “involved in the show with other characters” when season two premieres. Perhaps purple people who look for similarities before differences?