The pilot for the planned series Cannon Busters, released recently to Kickstarter backers, explores fantasy, adventure, and history genres with something we rarely see in animation; black lead characters. As creator LeSean Thomas told us in a recent interview, it makes sense for him to make work that reflects the world he's used to.

Hopefully that thinking is becoming more commonplace. Bumblebee is getting buzz in DC Super Hero Girls, with an additional chance to shine in the animated short, Hero of the Month: Bumblebee, while Princess Allura was reimagined as a brown woman for Netflix's Voltron. But there are an increasing number of independent creators working to animate their own original stories with black characters at the forefront. Whether it's at the bottom of the ocean, or in futuristic versions of Africa, there are animated series with black lead characters that we think you should look out for!

  • Urbance

    Urbance hit the internet earlier this year with a splash. In the series, creator Joel Dos Reis Viegas takes viewers to a dystopian future where heterosexual sex is deadly and therefore illegal. But of course there are a few rebels who participate in the forbidden act in the city's underground. Check out the pilot episode below.

  • Cannon Busters

    LeSean Thomas is back with his first original series, Cannon Busters. After a successful Kickstarter campaign two years ago, Thomas gave the goods, aka the pilot episode, to his backers earlier this month. So far, it’s got rave reviews from viewers, not to mention Joe Madureira is attached to the project as a character designer. Check out the trailer here:


    SAMBAKAP follows Samba Da Silva, an Afro-Brazilian kid who defies his teacher and heads to a legendary, yet, dangerous capoeira competition in Rio De Janeiro. The winner is rumored to get special powers, but only time will tell whether or not it's true. Watch the teaser below.

  • Heroes of Color

    A dose of history can be found in Heroes of Color. As the title inplies, it's an animated series that tells the story of heroes of the African diaspora. So far, two episodes have been released. The first follows the Harlem Hellfighters, the first all black regiment who served during World War I and World War II. The second tells the story of Gaspar Yanga, an African man who led a colony of former slaves near Veracruz, Mexico.

  • The Deep

    The Deep was released in 2014, but it just made its way to Netflix last month. Based on the Aurealis Award-winning graphic novel series by Tom Taylor, The Deep follows a family of oceanographers who explore the depths of the ocean. Check out the trailer below and head over to Netflix to watch the entire first season.

  • Tuskegee Heirs

    Tuskegee Heirs is another product of Kickstarter. Creators Marcus Williams and Greg Burnham aimed to create a comic book series about big robots that’s inspired by the legendary Tuskegee Airmen. Although their pledge amount was less than a thousand shy of their $75,000 goal to turn Tuskegee Heirs into an animated pilot, the two decided to work to animate it anyway. Check out a rough preview of what’s to come below, and read our interview with the creators here.

  • Bloodline

    Bloodline is definitely taking a few notes from Dragon Ball Z — but with a bit more swordplay. After cancelling the Kickstarter campaign two years ago, it seemed that the project was done. But in a recent Facebook post, the creators, Visionary Outlook LLC, shared that they're not giving up hope on releasing the series. It’s slated to be out later this year. Check out a rough cut teaser below.

  • Red Origins

    Dubbed as an "afro anime," Red Origins follows three kids who are magically transported to the future only to find that Neo Africa is at war with Ancestral Africa. The young protagonists soon join the Elite Juju Peacekeeping Force to stop the impending war. Alan Dean Foster of Star Wars fame also endorsed this upcoming series.

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