With all the Disney fairy dust on the site of late, and this being Black History Month, I want to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of Disney’s long time animators. Floyd Norman was the first African-American to work for Disney on a long-term basis. He has been with the company since 1956. He was even named a Disney Legend back in 2007.
Wanting to present a variety of African-American images to children, Norman and business partner Leo Sullivan founded Afrokids.com. Although I’d personally never heard of the site before, I checked it out and loved the variety of resources available. Definitely worth having a look at with your little ones.
Blacks in Animation
I previously had the opportunity to interview Vanessa Morrison, President of Fox Animation Studios, and she had this to say about blacks in animation:
“There is a need for more diversity and the most important thing is to encourage the new generation and people who have the interest. It starts early so take kids’ interests seriously. This is not an elite place. It’s a global industry and has to touch and represent all of us, which requires the participation and encouragement of all of us. Pursue your interests in animation and media to the fullest extent that you can. Don’t be discouraged, keep going relentlessly.”
Having a look a look at Norman’s blog, which he affectionately calls his personal animation journal, is quite intriguing. He shares his many experiences, things he’s seen and been able to do. His contribution to my childhood is astounding. It truly makes you realize that you simply never know what your calling, your passion can do for others. Norman says that his secret is he simply won’t stop working. And why would you when you love what you do.
Although a Disney Legend, Norman’s career at Disney had its challenges, including being let go, however only to return years later. Perseverance! I’m sure many of us could use a dose of that. There’s also a quote that says “Your value doesn’t diminish based on someone’s inability to see your worth.” And I believe Norman knew this which is why he simply kept going.
The takeaway from all this is: Keep going relentlessly, never give up, and persevere, as you follow your dreams!
“If you can dream it, you can do it” ~Walt Disney