Just in time for Pride Month, Hulu has announced a new kids’ cartoon The Bravest Knight, which will premiere in June and feature an openly gay main character.
Based on the children’s book The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived by Daniel Errico, the cartoon centers around Nia (Storm Reid, A Wrinkle in Time) and her quest to be a brave knight. In the meantime, she listens to stories from her father, Sir Cedric (T.R. Knight, Grey’s Anatomy), about how he started as a pumpkin farmer but then became a knight. Wilson Cruz (Star Trek: Discovery) voices Cedric’s husband Prince Andrew, and Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live) is the voice of Grunt the troll. Additional voices incude RuPaul, Christine Baranski, Wanda Sykes, Teri Polo, Steven Weber, Donna Murphy, AJ McLean, Dot-Marie Jones, Maz Jobrani, and Chance Hurstfield.
Thirteen episodes have been ordered. The first five premiere on Hulu on July 21. The theme song is written and performed by Grammy and Golden Globe nominee and LGBTQ+ activist Justin Tranter.
The Bravest Knight will join the ranks of children’s programming that has featured openly LGBTQ+ characters, which is a depressingly short list. And for every show like Steven Universe, which tells a masterful story and has queer characters who are characters first and queer second, you have a show like Voltron Legendary Defender, which pats itself on the back for inclusiveness despite completely botching the LGBTQ+ character’s storyline.
This also follows on the heels of the revelation that Mr. Ratburn, the teacher on the long-running PBS show Arthur, is gay. The season 22 premiere featured his wedding (which sadly doesn’t have the joy of being the first wedding between two men in western animation, because allegedly that “honor” goes to the afterthought that was Shiro’s wedding in the Voltron epilogue). Alabama Public Television promptly refused to air the episode for predictably ridiculous reasons, which will surely reignite the conversation about how gay people existing isn’t “appropriate” for children because… I don’t know why. (Also, I say “reignite” as though that conversation ever stops.)
Today also happens to be the day that GLAAD released its annual Studio Responsibility Index, which evaluates wide release films from major studios for LGBTQ+ representation and then grades the studios on their performance. As it happens, of the 18 animated films evaluated by GLAAD in 2018, zero featured an LGBTQ+ character.
So I applaud Hulu – and other streaming platforms like Netflix – for creating this sort of content for children, in particular. Perhaps if I had been exposed to such inclusive programming as a child, I would have figured myself out much sooner than my early 30s. I mean, this is a kids’ show with an interracial gay couple and their daughter. They never would have put this on the air when I was a kid.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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