I thought everyone knew this. Like how when you’re watching a movie set in Ancient Rome, you expect the actors to have British accents, because everyone knows Ancient Rome sounded like England and was soundtracked with the King’s English. I mean, it’d be weird if Julius Caesar had a French-Canadian accent. Or some lisping Castilian Spanish accent. Or a drawled-out, pompous-sounding Southern accent. Only a British voice makes sense.
I figured cartoon bears were the same — everyone just knew they were Black.
That is, until I said it out loud, and people were like, “What the fuck are you talking about?!?! Cartoon bears are… Black?”
But they’re, of course, the ones who have no idea what they’re talking about. I mean, the big stuffed bear on the cover of Kanye’s albums definitely has his energy, and it’s because all cartoon bears are Black. Again, it’s just one of those things everyone should know (and shame on you if you don’t).
Now, when I say that “all cartoon bears are Black,” I don’t mean that cartoon bears secretly exhibit racist stereotypes of Black people. What I mean is, cartoon bears are vibrationally Black.
Baloo, from The Jungle Book and TaleSpin, is the perfect example. He’s as vibrationally Black as an Aretha Franklin album that’s playing at a family reunion cookout where someone older fixed you a plate because they knew you were going to show up late and they didn’t want your teen cousins eating up everything good. He’s kind, fun-seeking and hungry as a muthaf— Sorry, grandmom.
Meanwhile, Yogi Bear is one of those anti-authoritarian, mid-century Black men, like grandpa’s favorite baby cousin who was the undisputed best in his bowling league and that’s about it. He even has a different attitude about the cops — he’s not down with fuck the police, not when he’s eating well off of fool the (park) police and Ranger Smith. (Don’t get me started on Boo Boo Bear, his partner, either; he’s the nephew trying to keep his uncle out of trouble — his mama’s favorite brother. Also, I mean, just say his name: Boo Boo.)
I admit that the Care Bears sound like some super corny-ass white people shit — going around trying to make the world a better place by using their feelings and fighting back with the power of the Care Bear stare like they do — but think about it for a second. You’re telling me I’m supposed to believe a bunch of white folks are going around helping other people deal with their feelings? Foh. The Care Bears are like magical Negro bears, they’re as vibrationally Black as a Morgan Freeman caddy who helps Matt Damon find the hole.
Smokey the Bear? He’s one of them old Black men, the kind who likes fishing and hunting and doesn’t want you to come out to his place and act a fool while you’re in the woods. So don’t be playing with any matches!
The Berenstain Bears? Don’t let the name fool you. They have some middle-class, pre-scandal Cosby Show Black vibes. Like, if you moved the Cosbys out of that brownstone in Brooklyn, set them inside a treehouse and made ‘em country-time bears; it’d be the same aspirational energy.
Fozzie Bear is another bear that might fool people who haven’t been around enough Black culture, or lived in (or near) a Black community. He’s a Black Jewish comedian. He comes from a mixed family that summers in the Catskills.
When it comes to Winnie the Pooh, you may be thinking, “But, um, Tigger is Black.” You’re correct, he is! And so is Winnie the Pooh. He’s a tea-drinking, honey-loving, nap-enjoying bear with big Black Brit energy. He’s like Idris Elba chilling on holiday. Wanting to be cozy at home with some hunny is very Black.
The same goes for Paddington Bear. He’s just a shy Black Brit in a London Fog jacket. His creator says he’s from “darkest Peru,” but to me, that still reads as vibrationally Black, just of a post-Columbian nature.
While I’m on the international tip, the medieval Gummi Bears could be Moors. Maybe that’s why they have to hide out and they know about all kinds of shit the medieval Europeans don’t, like bathing and soap. Think of the Gummi Bears getting twisted on their secret Gummi juice as lost Moors sippin’ on lean.
Which, finally, brings me to the We Bare Bears. With this show, if you don’t see it, it’s on you. Grizzly is always looking out for himself and his fam, which is Black as house music. And yeah, Ice is technically white (he’s a polar bear after all), but he’s just passing. He’s like that Blerd who might own a katana or two that he keeps displayed on his bedroom wall — quiet, weird, but still vibrationally Black.
The only one who isn’t Black is Panda. Because, canonically, we all know panda bears aren’t Black, and we’re not looking to appropriate their Asian vibes. So all I can say to him: Respect due.