A Different Kind of Protagonist
Amongst a child-like utopia of dirt paths, hidden forts and towering tree trunks, the new series Craig of the Creek airing on Cartoon Network portrays a refreshing image of African-American life in the fictional town of Herkleston, Maryland. The middle child of a guidance counselor mother and a personal trainer father, Craig Williams sheds the responsibilities of advanced math classes and household chores by escaping to the titular creek, where plans are formed and foiled, life-lessons are learned and snacks can be bartered-for at the Trading Tree.
Creators Matt Burnett and Ben Levin are providing for an audience that has long been overlooked in the young African-American male community. And while sitting amongst the many smiling faces of children invited to watch the premiere of this new cartoon, I distinctly overheard the voice of a little boy telling his mother “he looks just like me,” before singing along to the theme song announcing the next episode. As a grin spread across my own face, my inner eight year old was completely immersed in the true-to-life experiences offered by each episode and the relatable cast of characters; many of which are equally attractive to adults as they are to youngsters: Jojo Williams, City Council Woman and Craig’s grandmother for example.
The FastCompany.com article “Inside Cartoon Network’s Racially Groundbreaking Show “Craig Of The Creek” notes, “There have been a number of black cartoon characters in kids’ shows, but so often they’re relegated to the role of a sidekick, e.g. Susie Carmichael on Rugrats, Libby Folfax on The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, or Gerald Johanssen on Hey Arnold! Having shows with black lead characters that don’t feed into harmful stereotypes do exist (The Proud Family, Static Shock, Doc McStuffins), but they’re certainly not as common.”
The protagonist of the series is a wildly creative and energetic take on your average fourth grader and as he passionately leads his fellow Creek Kids on adventures through the wilderness of their own backyards. Craig of the Creek puts an intelligent, forward thinking, responsible person of color front-and-center among the myriad less-than-diverse child entertainment flooding the airwaves.
Discover endless adventures with Cartoon Network’s newest show, Craig of the Creek. Join Craig and his best friends, J.P. and Kelsey, as they explore the untamed suburban wilderness known as the Creek, a kid utopia nestled in their own backyards. The precocious Craig leads his pals on imaginative missions to map every corner of this inspired world full of paintball battles, cardboard cities, and resident Creek Kids such as the daredevil 10-Speeds and mysterious Sewer Kids. Everyday afternoons are transformed into thrilling expeditions and each excursion into the Creek is a chance for Craig and his friends to do something legendary.
Check out full Craig of the Creek episodes on Cartoon Network (click here)