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'Family Guy' Star Mike Henry Steps Down From Voicing Black Character, Cleveland Brown

Gettyimages | Jamie McCarthy
By Gary Trock

Veteran voice actor Mike Henry has joined a long list of stars who are stepping down from voicing African-American characters in order to give the popular roles to people of color in the entertainment industry.

Henry, who has voiced Cleveland Brown on "Family Guy" since 1999, announced he will no longer be providing the voice. Henry also voiced Cleveland on "The Cleveland Show," as well as the character's African-American son, Rallo Tubbs.

"It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years," Henry began his statement.

'I Love This Character'

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Henry kept his statement short and sweet, telling fans:

"I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role."

The other "Family Guy" stars, including creator Seth MacFarlane, have not yet responded to Henry's news, but it comes amid the recasting of other animated roles for characters of color that were being played by White actors.

Specifically, Jenny Slate has stepped down from her role on "Big Mouth" and Kristen Bell will be recast on the new animated series, "Central Park."

Other Actors Stepping Down

Gettyimages | Dimitrios Kambouris

Slate, who voices tons of animated shows, released a long emotional statement on social media about her character, Missy Foreman-Greenwald.

"At the start of the show, I reasoned with myself that it was permissible for me to play Missy because her mom is Jewish and White — as am I," Slate wrote to fans. "But Missy is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people...In my playing Missy, I was engaging in an act of erasure of Black people.

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