From 'The Lion King' to 'Ice Age 4': Our favorite black animated voices

SLIDESHOW - The big names in the upcoming Ice Age: Continental Drift inspired this slide show of our favorite black animated voices of the past...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

James Earl Jones has one of the most memorable black animated voices as Mufasa in Disney’s 1994 classic, The Lion King.  But the big names in this summer’s most anticipated animated film, Ice Age: Continental Drift might give him a run for his money.

In Ice Age: Continental Drift, Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox introduce a handful of black animated actors to the series.  In the fourth Ice Age film, familiar voices return, such as Queen Latifah as Ellie the woolly mammoth, and new voices are introduced.  Drake, Nicki Minaj, Keke Palmer, and Wanda Sykes are among the film’s new black actors.

Ice Age‘s fairly lengthy list of black voices comes just a few months after a fellow black animated actor’s controversial comments at this year’s Academy Awards. Chris Rock, voice of Marty in the Madagascar films, noted at the Oscars that actors of color receive fewer options compared to white voice actors.  This sparked many to take note at just how many white actors voice characters of color in animated films, but the same cannot be said for actors of color giving voice to white characters.

We are glad to see more African-American actors gaining animated roles.  Ice Age 4 inspired this slide how of our favorite black animated voices of the past.