Created By: luisedgarf on February 16, 2012 Last Edited By: Rjones on February 17, 2012

White Character Black Voice Actor

When a White (or a African American) character is voiced by a VA of a different ethnicity from the depicted character

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Trope
As a rule of thumb in voice acting (at least in the U.S) when a character gets voiced lines, it's normally voiced by someone from the same ethnicity of the character depicted on-screen.

But sometimes, it's not always possible find a good VA that match the character's race (or sometimes, it's doesn't matter, as long the voice actor can do a good job voicing that character) so they cast any VA, without any regard of the character or VA's original ethnicity.

For obvious reasons, it's doesn't not apply with Western voice-acting of Anime, unless the character depicted is obviously foreign.

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • February 16, 2012
    nitrokitty
    This would go under Trivia, if it's tropable. Related to Race Lift. Also Needs A Better Title.
  • February 16, 2012
    luisedgarf
    It has nothing to do with Race Lift, since the ethnicity or the on-screen character is not changed, but his or her VA in Real Life doesn't match with their character's ethnicity.
  • February 16, 2012
    Generality
    • Samurai Jack is Japanese, but voiced by the African-American Phil LaMarr.
  • February 16, 2012
    animeg3282
    Needs a bit of broeadening in the title.
  • February 16, 2012
    c0ry
    Darth Vader is voiced by James Earl Jones, though the character is Caucasian and the physical actor is in fact Welsh.
  • February 16, 2012
    ScanVisor
    Kratos from Godof War.
  • February 16, 2012
    X2X
  • February 16, 2012
    MiinU
    example deleted.
  • February 16, 2012
    KJMackley
    I don't really think this is tropeable. The whole purpose of voice acting is to provide a voice that does justice to the character they are portraying. The fact they don't have the same physical appearance as their character is sort of irrelevant. The truth is whenever a show is dubbed into another language (animated or live action) they are likely going to use local voice actors to dub it, their physical appearance has nothing to do with their performance. Vocal Dissonance is really all this trope is about, how you didn't expect the voice and face to go together.

    Admittedly, there are some aversions to this. Disney purposefully hired Asian actors for Mulan and African American actors for The Princess And The Frog. But that's neither here nor there.
  • February 16, 2012
    MiinU
    ^Hmm... good point. Deleting example.
  • February 16, 2012
    KevinKlawitter
    In The Batman, The Joker is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson.

    In Family Guy and the Spin Off The Cleveland Show, the African American character Cleveland Brown is voiced by the white Mike Henry.
  • February 16, 2012
    dyson88
    I keep thinking this may be too common to trope especially when you consider that up until probably the 60's, most if not all voice actors in western animation were white no matter what role they played.

    Here's just a few examples:

    In the Dilbert cartoon, the Indian Asok was voiced by Tom Kenny

    In the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Japanese Shredder was voiced by African American James Avery.

    Roscoe Lee Brown voiced the Kingpin on Spiderman The Animated Series.

    The Laosion Kahn from Kingof The Hill, voiced by the white Toby Huss.

    Way more examples
  • February 17, 2012
    luisedgarf
    In a example involving foreign dubbing, in the Mexican Spanish dub of 3 Friends and Jerry, the titular character Jerry, who is a White British, is played by the African-Mexican voice actor (and later pop singer) Kalimba Marichal, the same goes with the titular character of Hey Arnold
  • February 17, 2012
    Psi001
    • Penny is played by African American voice actress Cree Summer in Inspector Gadget.
    • Matt Stone and Trey Parker play many roles of different races (and genders) in South Park, however they hired African American Adrien Beard to voice Token Black due to not feeling they could make him sound right.
  • February 17, 2012
    deuxhero
    Mass Effect's Commander Shepard has a customizable race, but only two (male/female) voice actors.
  • February 17, 2012
    Generality
    MJ Mackley, I think it might be useful just as Trivia.
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