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'The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder' Creator and EP Continue to Represent the Black Family

The Proud Family is a classic animated series that we as millennials grew up on that premiered in 2001. It was one of the first cartoons that many remember that focused on a Black family and represented and explored many of the cultural references we saw in our own homes. The series centered around Penny Proud, played by Kyla Pratt, as she dealt with all the challenges of being a pre-teen. The storylines were true to life even with the over-dramatization of the series but there was always, at minimum, a hint of realism that could be found in the Black family. But have you ever thought about who was behind the creation of the series?

We all knew that the series had to come from a Black person because the references of "living while Black" are so strong that it would be very difficult for a person outside of that race to speak on. Admittedly, I assumed that the creator of The Proud Family was a Black woman who was either telling the story of her young daughter or detailing her own life as a young preteen. I was shocked when I found out that the creator and executive producer of the series were Black men.

"I'm surprised you didn't know that it was some brothers behind the show just from the simple fact that the Gross Sisters were ashy and Uncle Bobby. Who could explain those things except for Black folks," Bruce W. Smith, creator of The Proud Family, shared during our recent interview. With Ralph Farquhar, executive producer of the series, in his corner, the two would premiere a series that has genuinely been embedded in Black history.

The Proud Family originally ran from 2001 to 2005 on the Disney channel but in 2022 the series returned to Disney+, "Louder and Prouder." The series returned with a new name, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, and with your favorite characters and some new ones. But telling our true and authentic stories has always been the focus for Smith and Farquhar.

"Being a storyteller, I always like to come from a place of truth," Farquhar shared about the type of conversations that were discussed and explored. "We got a wonderful writing staff headed by Calvin Brown Jr. We got wonderful young Black women on staff along with an old Black man called Leo. But we really challenged them. 'We want your truth and your stories to put into this show.' Especially the girls because...I'm not a 14-year-old Black girl," Farquhar added.

The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder isn't just for viewers who are interested in the lives of teenage Black girls but is more a family show where everyone can relate to someone they see on the screen. "We got characters from the kids to the parents," Farquhar shares. And with these characters, each of them has their own stories that come from the different experiences that are found inside the writers room. "We're Black parents. We bring that experience to bear and just our general knowledge about being Black. Bruce and I, we got a lot of years on this planet. We have a lot of stories we can tell. We know things we've done. We know things we heard about. We know things our family has gone through. And so that's the source of our inspiration for any of these episodes," Farquhar adds.

The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder premiered its second season today and has sometimes received criticism for pushing certain stereotypes but Smith doesn't worry about that. "That's why it's beautiful, that we're [Black people] all there in the room, especially in the recording sessions. Comedy by its purest form is offensive. So, we don't worry about that. And we don't necessarily worry about being stereotypical because we're writing it. We own everything that's there on the page. We own everything once it gets to its visual form. So we don't worry about that as long as we're true and we know it's true. And it's funny."

Check out the full interview below.

Make sure to tune into the new season of The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder now streaming on Disney+.


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