If you haven’t heard about it yet, Cartoon Network has a brand new Powerpuff Girl, who is black and voiced by none other than our very own Toya Delazy. The My City artist voices Bliss, the long lost sister of Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup. Bliss will feature in a five-part special, titled The Powerpuff Girls: Power of Four. We spoke to De Lazy about the role.
How does it feel to be Cartoon Network’s first black Powerpuff Girl?
It’s so much history, it’s making history. It’s incredible. It’s inspiring, kids are inspired by it. That’s what makes it magical.
Did you ever think that you would voice a cartoon character when you envisioned your career?
Actually yes. This is what I thought I’d do, but then music happened. Back in the day I used to watch a lot of cartoons because that’s the only channel we were allowed to watch. My family was very strict about being PG so Cartoon Network was the platform where we could watch late into the night. One of the things we’d do with my cousins was imitate voices. My earliest inspirations were Eddie Murphy when he was acting as Donkey in Shrek. I loved that. I’ve always loved that and I’d hoped I would be able to do it too. It was my dream and I didn’t know I’d get to do it.
Did you watch the Powerpuff Girls when you were a kid as well?
Yeah, a lot. Those were my girls. I also loved Cow and Chicken, Courage the Cowardly Dog…
Courage the Cowardly Dog was one of my favourites too! I’m actually still shocked at how creepy it was!
I know, they used to beat up that dog. That was solid abuse there! And we used to laugh, we were sick.
Right? But Powerpuff Girls was my favourite show by far. I can still remember the theme song, can you?
I know right, it’s ingrained. It’s incredible because it made young girls believe they could be superheroes. That was the intent of Craig McCracken, the guy who made it. I guess that’s why everyone is so motivated by it, especially the kids.
Who was your favourite Powerpuff Girl growing up?
Buttercup, and then as I started to grow I started to love Bubbles.
Bubbles was my girl, she was just so cute. But tell me about your PPG.
Her name is Bliss. She has blue hair, she’s tall, she has skin like mine. She’s got a lot of hips because she’s older than her sisters. Basically she’s the long lost sister and now she’s come back home and is reintegrating into the family. You’re going to discover the powers she has. This is her journey coming into the family again.
How is she different or similar to the real you?
That’s the crazy part – as I was playing this character I was like, actually I’ve got three younger sisters on my dad’s side and it’s similar because I was estranged from my dad all my childhood. I reconnected with my family when I was 18. The whole story seems to go together with my life. It was almost emotional because that was the story of getting to be part of the family again.
That’s incredible! Can you give us a hint about her storyline?
It’s her journey of understanding and accepting who she is in her family. She was estranged and now she’s back home. It’s a journey of self discovery for her and for everyone.
How did you get the role? Did you have to audition for it?
I worked with Cartoon Network last year. I produced and wrote the Powerpuff Girls theme song for the network’s African platform. Later in the year, they told me they were introducing a new Powerpuff Girl and that they’d like me to do the voiceover. I was like YES. But I still had to audition. I went into the studio and did an audition, it was sent to the bosses and they loved it.
Wow, congratulations again. Now I’m curious. How did recording the episodes work? Did you also record it in studio?
We record it with a professional team in studio. So I’ll be in the booth and they’ll be in the control room and there will be a screen in there. So I’ll hear the other Powerpuff Girls speak and then when it’s my turn to speak, I’ve got a mic in front of me, I just slot in my lines.
So you’re never in studio with the other Powerpuff Girls?
No, it’s just me. They’re in the States.
How important is representation of different identities, especially in cartoons?
Oh man, it’s very important. That’s why this is such a big deal. If it wasn’t important I don’t think this would have made such a big noise worldwide. The whole point of this cartoon is to empower little girls to believe they can be superheroes. Representation is that touch of including and making every girl – honestly – and people of colour growing up know and feel that they can be superheroes and that it’s not about your hue. It’s about making young girls feel empowered. Everybody is very important.
I’m very excited to be the one to bring this to life. This has been overdue in a way. [When I tweeted the announcement] I’ve never had so many RTs in my life. When something good happens, you can tell by people’s reactions that it’s necessary.
— ToyaDelazy (@ToyaDelazy) September 7, 2017
The Powerpuff Girls: Power of Four premieres on Saturday, 21 October at 8:00am CAT on DSTV’s Cartoon Network, channel 301.
*This interview has been edited for length.