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Meet Family Guy's new Cleveland Brown: YouTuber Arif Zahir replaces Mike Henry


Meet Family Guy’s new Cleveland Brown: YouTuber Arif Zahir replaces Mike Henry three months after he ‘stepped down’ from 20-year role voicing the black animated character

YouTuber Arif Zahir will take over Mike Henry’s role on Family Guy’s 19th season, which is set to air in the 2021-22 season. 

The announcement comes just months after Henry, who previously voiced Cleveland Brown on the animated series for more two decades, revealed he would be stepping down. 

‘It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years,’ Henry explained over a tweet in June. ‘I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role.’ 

New role: YouTuber Arif Zahir will take over Mike Henry's role on Family Guy's 19th season, which is set to air in the 2021-22 season

New role: YouTuber Arif Zahir will take over Mike Henry’s role on Family Guy’s 19th season, which is set to air in the 2021-22 season

On Friday, Zahir reflected on learning that Henry was parting ways from his ‘favorite cartoon character of all time.’ 

‘I was shocked and saddened, assuming we’d never see him again,’ Zahir said in a statement, obtained by THR. ‘When I learned I would get to take over the role? Overabundant gratitude.’ 

He continued: ‘To Mike, you created something truly special and I promise I will do my absolute best to honor your legacy.’  

Advocate: The announcement comes months after Henry, who previously voiced Cleveland Brown on the animated series for more two decades, revealed he would be stepping down

Advocate: The announcement comes months after Henry, who previously voiced Cleveland Brown on the animated series for more two decades, revealed he would be stepping down

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Saying goodbye: Henry appeared pleased with his replacement, as he welcomed Zahir, who is repped by CAA, to the 'Family Guy team' and praised his 'obvious' vocal talent and understanding of Cleveland Brown; seen in 2018

Saying goodbye: Henry appeared pleased with his replacement, as he welcomed Zahir, who is repped by CAA, to the ‘Family Guy team’ and praised his ‘obvious’ vocal talent and understanding of Cleveland Brown; seen in 2018

Henry appeared pleased with his replacement, as he welcomed Zahir, who is repped by CAA, to the ‘Family Guy team’ and praised his ‘obvious’ vocal talent and understanding of Cleveland Brown. 

‘His respect for the character gives me confidence that he is in the right hands,’ the former Family Guy star noted. ‘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.’

For years, Zahir has shown off his Cleveland Brown impression to his more than six million subscribers on YouTube.  

'I was shocked and saddened, assuming we¿d never see him again,' Zahir said in a statement, obtained by THR . 'When I learned I would get to take over the role? Overabundant gratitude'

‘I was shocked and saddened, assuming we’d never see him again,’ Zahir said in a statement, obtained by THR . ‘When I learned I would get to take over the role? Overabundant gratitude’

The casting of Zahir comes as a number of animated shows have committed to casting actors of color to voice non-White roles. 

In June, Kristen Bell revealed she would not return as the voice of Central Park‘s mixed race Molly after the first season.   

Similarly, Jenny Slate also made the decision to step down from playing her Missy Foreman-Greenwald on Big Mouth. 

More inclusive: The casting of Zahir comes as a number of animated shows have committed to casting actors of color to voice non-White roles

More inclusive: The casting of Zahir comes as a number of animated shows have committed to casting actors of color to voice non-White roles

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