During a time of social upheaval in this nation, the fight against police brutality, racial injustice, and societal inequities in the U.S. has gone from national to global- and now it's gone universal. Viewers of Adult Swim's late-night block of anime programming got more than they expected Saturday night when Toonami host and our resident robotic champion TOM (voiced for the past twenty years by Cowboy Bebop voice actor Steve Blum) voiced his support on behalf of all of Toonami of the Black Lives Matter message and movement.
Along with expressing support for Black Lives Matter, the message also makes a very pointed argument that those who think these protests against racial inequality and police violence have nothing to do with them still have "truth to uncover" in their lives. What we appreciated about the clip was its ability to diffuse an argument against them before it's even made, by showing how the very anime they know and love consistently preach messages of love and hope, and show why it's important for all of us to work together to push back against the evils in society. Toonami co-creator Jason DeMarco took to Twitter after the clip aired to offer some behind-the-scenes details on how the project came about- which you can check out for yourselves below, following the clip:
A little background: this piece came together because a group of Toonami staff came to me and asked, "are we going to address this clearly?" I agreed with them that we should. This piece was produced, co-written, and edited by our Black staff members. The all did an amazing job.
Special shoutout to @stupidgill [Gill Austin] who wrote the backbone and shepherded it home as well. I work with some very good people and I hope you felt our sincerity, even if it made you uncomfortable. Thanks for watching, as always.
We at #toonami know we can only do so much with our platform but we wanted to be clear what our little block stands for. Equality, compassion, love and strength are at the core of so much of our programming and at the core of the message we want Toonami to deliver. 💖
Here's a look at Blum's social media seal of approval after the message went live on Adult Swim:
— Steve Blum (@blumspew) August 30, 2020