Funky Turns 40 Art Exhibit At Black Cultural Center

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — An art exhibit that features key animation art images from the late 1960s and ’70s is now on display at Purdue University’s Black Cultural Center. “Funky Turns 40: Black Character Revolution Firsts” will be at the BCC through March 31. The exhibit is free and open to the public during BCC’s regular hours, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays.


The exhibit is co-curated by Pamela Thomas and Loreen Williamson, who run the virtual Museum of Uncut Funk.

“Thomas and Williamson are cartoon aficionados, and ‘Funky Turns 40’ commemorates the 40th anniversaries of popular 1970s Saturday morning cartoons that featured positive and realistic black characters for the first time in television history,” said the Museum of Uncut Funk’s website. “Fueled by the civil rights movement and the overwhelming success of black musicians and athletes during the period, television producers began to explore projects with a wide, multicultural appeal.”

The museum’s website said shows like “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” paved the way for other black characters and shows featuring music icons, sports heroes and multicultural casts such as “The Jackson Five,” “Josie and the Pussy Cats,” “The Harlem Globetrotters” and “I Am The Greatest” (featuring Muhammad Ali).

Shows like “Hardy Boys” and “Super Friends,” which previously had overtly white casts, began to introduce positive black characters who worked side by side with their white counterparts, according to the museum’s website.

“These shows helped empower a generation of children with cartoon role models who promoted family values, education, friendship, civic duty, personal responsibility and sportsmanship in fun, vibrant bursts of animation,” the museum’s website said. “Forty years later, the legacy of these cartoons pioneered the way for a new generation of black animation like “The Proud Family,” “Little Bill,” “Static Shock,” “Fillmore” and “Doc McStuffins.”

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711,

Source: Jamillah R. Gabriel, BCC librarian, 765-494-3093,

Add Your Comment

Related Posts