The Wire star Wendell Pierce wants to voice Family Guy character Cleveland. The character's original voice actor, Mike Henry, decided to step down from the role late last week. Henry, who is white, thinks a person of color should be the one providing the voice for the fan-favorite character. The news caused a stir on social media, with many wondering why Henry felt he needed to step down. Others applauded his decision.
Wendell Pierce happens to think he's the right man to take over the voice of Cleveland on Family Guy. "Now that Mike Henry has consciously given up the role of Cleveland, I am publicly starting a campaign to voice the role myself on The Cleveland Show," he tweeted. While the spin-off show was successful, it was canceled back in 2013. It's not clear if Pierce knows this or not, but he still really wants the part and a lot of people think The Wire star would be the perfect person to take over.
Fellow actors are already supporting Wendell Pierce's campaign to voice Cleveland on Family Guy. House of Cards actor Michael Kelly personally vouched for Pierce, stating, "Perfect! Wendell Pierce is not only one of the most talented dudes I know, but also someone you'll love hanging with." The actor made sure to include series creator and mastermind Seth MacFarlane in his tweet of confidence. So far, MacFarlane has yet to say anything publicly about the matter, though one has to imagine that he will in the near future.
Mike Henry tweeted, "It's been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years." He went on to say, "I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role." Henry follows the recent departures of Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell from Big Mouth and Central Park, respectively. Both actresses believe that women of color should come on board to replace their voices when it comes time to start the new seasons. It remains unclear what all of the shows, including Family Guy are going to do in response to the vacated roles.
Hank Azaria recently went through something similar when he stepped down from voicing Apu on The Simpsons. Criticism of the Apu character has been around for a long time and many saw the move as a little too late. Regardless, that show, Family Guys, Central Park, and Big Mouth will be going on to make further changes for their voice casts in the near future. For now, we'll just have to wait and see how everything pans out, though Wendell Pierce is all ready to start work as the new voice of Cleveland. You can check out the launch of his campaign above, thanks to Wendell Pierce's Twitter account.