Wendell Pierce petitions for role on ‘The Cleveland Show’ after white actor quits

Mike Henry voiced the character of Cleveland Brown for over 20 years but declared that persons of color should play characters of color.

(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Now that the white actor who played the role of Cleveland Brown on The Cleveland Show has quit, Wendell Pierce is publicly throwing his hat in the ring to take over as the voice of the beloved Black animated character.

“It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years,” Mike Henry wrote on Twitter Friday, adding, “I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role.”

Wendell Pierce Bunk thegrio.com
Wendell Pierce as Bunk, The Wire | Photo: HBO

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The 54-year-old, who is a white man, has voiced the character since the series debuted in 1999, and is also the voice behind a Latina maid named Consuela on the series. But last week he stepped down from the role, following the lead of other white actors who have stepped down from voicing Black characters following the protests sparked by George Floyd‘s death.

Earlier that same day, Fox revealed that it will no longer have white actors voice characters of color on “The Simpsons.”

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“Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white actors,” the network said in a statement.

But just two days after Henry stepped down, Pierce, an acclaimed screen and stage actor who most recently wowed audiences in the London West End production of Arthur Miller’s classic “Death of a Salesman” went viral when he minced no words asking for an opportunity to take over.

“Now that Mike Henry has consciously given up the role of Cleveland, I am publicly starting a campaign to voice the role myself on The Cleveland Show,” he wrote Sunday in a tweet that received 28,00 likes in less than twenty-four hours.

Fans quickly took to the idea but FOX has yet to publicly respond to the suggestion.

 

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