‘Family Guy’ casts YouTube star as Cleveland's new voice

Carla Harmon
September 26, 2020

YouTube sensation Arif Zahir, also known as "Azerrz" has won himself a new gig on popular hit cartoon series, Family guy for his exceptional video impressions of the Cleveland Brown character, among many other.

When I learned that I would eventually get to take over the role?

"Family Guy" showrunners have found their new Cleveland Brown voice - it's a Black YouTuber who can handle the role easily, and probably a few others on the show too.

Zahir, who has mimicked Cleveland Brown on his YouTube channel, spoke in the character's voice in a video posted on Twitter on Friday afternoon: "I've studied Mike". Other white actors that voice personalities of colour in animated show that have exited their characters comprise Jenny Slate, whose personality Netflix's Enormous Mouth will then be voiced by Dark author Ayo Edebiri, along with Kristen Bell, who abandoned the function of Molly, a mixed-race personality on Apple TV+'s animated series Central Park who'll now be uttered by Emmy Raver-Lampman.

"Firstly, I'm eternally grateful to have received this once in a lifetime opportunity", he said. "Arif's vocal talent is obvious, but his understanding of Cleveland and his respect for the character give me confidence that he is in the right hands. I look forward to getting to understand Arif and working together with him to make certain Cleveland remains every bit as incredible as he's ever been". "Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role", tweeted Henry at the time.

"The Simpsons" has faced growing criticism in recent years over the fact that Hank Azaria, a white actor, voiced Apu, an Indian American character.

For season 18, Henry will continue to be heard as the voice of Cleveland, since the episodes have already been completed.

"After I heard that Mike Henry was stepping down from the function of Cleveland Brown - my favourite cartoon character of all time - I used to be shocked and saddened, assuming we'd by no means see him once more", Zahir mentioned.

Cleveland is one of several characters of color who have been recast with actors of color in the past couple of months after the white actors who had portrayed them exited the roles.

That day, Zahir jokingly volunteered in a TikTok video. Overabundant gratitude. To Mike, you created something truly special and I promise I will do my absolute best to honor your legacy. I won't let you down.

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