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Although production for the project got off to a very rocky start, Paramount Pictures’ Sonic the Hedgehog live-action film based on the popular SEGA video game series proved to be a blockbuster hit, becoming the sixth-highest-grossing film of 2020 and the highest-grossing video game adaptation of all time here in the States.

The upcoming sequel arriving in 2022 is sure to be highly-anticipated, especially now that it’s recently been confirmed that Black Hollywood elite Idris Elba has landed a co-starring role as Sonic’s premiere foe-turned-friend, Knuckles the Echidna.

As the seasoned vet prepares to join a long list of Black actors who found success in the animated world, we couldn’t help but think back on a handful of those melanated movie stars who amazed us with their voice acting skills.

The art of acting with your voice is a skill that definitely shouldn’t be taken lightly in Hollywood. One actor on this list conveyed an unforgettable conviction in his voice that made the world truly see him as king to a land of talking lions called Pride Rock, meanwhile another gave young girls something to look up to as the first Black Disney Princess. In short, we put together a list of nine actors we all know and love who proved just how powerful your voice can be when you use it to bring animation into people’s lives.

From James Earl Jones as “Mufasa” in both adaptations of The Lion King, to Anika Noni Rose dazzling as “Princess Tiana” in The Princess and the Frog, take a look at 9 Black actors who amazed us by lending their vocal chops to classic animated films:

Drawn To Perfection: 9 Great Performances By Black Actors In Animated Films  was originally published on

1. Phil LaMarr as “Samurai Jack”


Samurai Jack: The Premiere Movie (2001)

2. Samuel L. Jackson as “Frozone”


The Incredibles (2004)
Incredibles 2 (2018)

3. Cree Summer as “Susie Carmichael”


The Rugrats Movie (1998)
Rugrats in Paris: The Movie (2000)
All Growed Up (2001)
Rugrats Go Wild (2003)

4. Jamie Foxx as “Joe Gardner”


Soul (2020)

5. Anika Noni Rose as “Princess Tiana”


The Princess and the Frog (2009)

6. Faizon Love as “Robin Harris”


Bébé’s Kids (1992)

7. Shameik Moore as “Miles Morales / Spider-Man”


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

8. Eddie Murphy as “Donkey”


Shrek (2001)
Shrek 2 (2004)
Shrek the Third (2007)
Shrek Forever After (2010)
Donkey’s Christmas Shrektacular (2010)

9. James Earl Jones as “Mufasa”


The Lion King (1994)
The Lion King (2019)