The showrunners of two major primetime series, both owned by Disney and aired on Fox, have announced new cast members amid a push for racial equality in voice acting. Arif Zahir will be the new voice of Cleveland Brown in Family Guy, while Alex Désert will take over the role of Carl Carlson in The Simpsons in the show’s Season 32 premiere.
Zahir is the actor behind the popular Youtube channel Azerrz, where he does commentary and comedy skits (including impressions of Cleveland). He will voice Cleveland from Season 19, which has just begun production. Season 18, which debuts on Sunday, will still feature the voice of Mike Henry, who had voiced the character since Season 1. Henry, who is white, stepped away from the Black character in June, writing: “I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color.”
Henry will continue to voice other characters on the show. “I welcome Arif to the Family Guy team,” he said in a statement. “Arif’s vocal talent is obvious, but his understanding of Cleveland and his respect for the character give me confidence that he is in the right hands. I look forward to getting to know Arif and working with him to make sure Cleveland stays every bit as awesome as he has always been.”