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Why Megan Thee Stallion’s role as Crunchyroll Anime Awards’ presenter resonates with Black culture

todayFebruary 29, 2024

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Why Megan Thee Stallion's role as Crunchyroll Anime Awards' presenter resonates with Black culture

Megan Thee Stallion, synonymous with fierce swagger and an unapologetic celebration of femininity in the rap game, has become an emblematic figure in the music industry. Her rise to stardom was meteoric, marked by chart-topping hits and a Grammy Award that attest to her prowess as a hip-hop artist. Yet, Megan’s influence extends beyond music; she is a cultural force, embodying the spirit of a generation that defies boundaries and embraces many passions. One such passion is her love for anime, a medium often associated with its Japanese origins but which has found a fervent following across the globe, including within the Black community. And this Saturday, her love for anime will be displayed at the Crunchyroll Anime Awards.

Megan’s involvement with the Crunchyroll Anime Awards is a groundbreaking moment for her as an artist and the broader cultural implications it carries. As she steps into the role of host for this prestigious event, Megan brings a unique blend of star power and genuine enthusiasm for the art form. This collaboration is more than a mere celebrity endorsement; it is a testament to the growing influence of anime in mainstream culture and its ability to resonate with diverse audiences.

Megan Thee Stallion and Her Connection to Anime

The significance of Megan Thee Stallion’s participation in the Anime Awards cannot be overstated. It serves as a bridge between the world of hip-hop and anime, two domains that, on the surface, might seem worlds apart but share a common ground in their storytelling power and cultural impact. This article aims to delve into the symbiotic relationship between anime and Black culture, exploring how the themes and artistry of anime resonate with Black audiences and how Megan Thee Stallion’s connection to anime exemplifies this cultural synergy. Through this lens, we will uncover the layers of meaning behind Megan’s role in the Anime Awards and the broader implications for representation and inclusivity in anime.

From her candid interviews where she declares starting and ending her day with anime to her anime-inspired fashion statements, Megan has never shied away from showcasing her otaku side. In a GQ interview, she proudly listed some of her favorite series, such as “Hunter x Hunter” and “Attack on Titan,” while flaunting a “Blue Exorcist”-inspired manicure, further cementing her status as a “lil weeb.” Her engagement with anime culture extends beyond mere viewership; it is a source of inspiration that permeates her artistry and personal style.

Megan’s love for anime is evident in her lyrical references and fashion choices. She has paid homage to various anime characters, such as Yumeko Jabami from “Kakegurui,” through her outfits, showcasing a deep appreciation for the medium’s aesthetic. Her iconic Todoroki-inspired look for Paper Magazine, where she merged the character’s distinctive features with her own alter ego, Tina Snow, is a testament to her creative fusion of anime and music personas.

Her connection to anime is not just about entertainment; it reflects her identity. Megan has often expressed how she resonates with anime characters and their journeys. Her recent posts about “Tokyo Ghoul” on Instagram, where she related to the protagonist Kaneki’s transformation, demonstrate how anime narratives mirror her experiences and artistic evolution.

Megan’s role in overseeing the 2024 Crunchyroll Anime Awards is a significant moment for the anime community. As an artist who has been recognized by TIME as one of the 100 Most Influential People, her presence at the awards is a powerful statement about anime’s inclusivity and universal appeal. Her shoutouts to series like “Black Clover,” “Naruto,” and “Soul Eater” not only bring these titles into the spotlight but also encourage a dialogue about the representation of diverse voices within the anime fandom.

Anime’s Universal Themes and Their Resonance with Black Audiences

Anime’s appeal to Black audiences can be traced back to its storytelling, which often centers on underdogs overcoming adversity, fighting against oppression, and the importance of community and solidarity. These narratives resonate deeply with the Black experience, reflecting centuries of struggle, resilience, and the ongoing fight for justice and equality. Series like “Naruto,” “My Hero Academia,” and “Attack on Titan” showcase characters and stories that embody these themes, making them particularly impactful for Black viewers.

The representation of struggle and triumph in anime mirrors Black communities’ historical and contemporary challenges. The genre’s focus on characters who navigate and overcome systemic obstacles speaks to the resilience and determination inherent in the Black experience. Moreover, anime’s exploration of themes such as identity, belonging, and resistance against injustice aligns with the narratives of empowerment and liberation central to Black history and culture.

The Influence of Black Creators on Anime

The growing presence of Black creators in the anime industry is a testament to the genre’s expanding inclusivity and the diverse voices shaping its future. These creators draw from their cultural backgrounds and experiences to infuse anime with new perspectives, challenging traditional narratives and broadening the genre’s appeal.

One notable example is “The Boondocks,” described by its creator Aaron McGruder as “our attempt at anime, but very, very black.” The series skillfully blends anime aesthetics with African-American culture and experiences, offering a unique commentary on race, society, and identity. By grafting African-American experiences onto an anime framework, “The Boondocks” exemplifies how Black creators use the medium to tell their stories, engage with themes of resistance and liberation, and speak in the language of African Americans.

Another figure in this movement is Arthell Isom, the founder of D’Art Shtajio, Japan’s first Black-owned anime studio. Isom’s studio is pioneering in its approach, blending traditional Japanese anime techniques with cultural storytelling worldwide, including narratives from Black culture.

D’Art Shtajio’s establishment marks a significant milestone in the anime industry, serving as a medium’s beacon for diversity and representation. Isom and his team are dedicated to creating anime that honors the art form’s Japanese roots while providing a platform for underrepresented voices. Their work is breaking new ground by showcasing Black characters and stories authentically, contributing to a more inclusive and relatable anime landscape for Black audiences.

Arthell Isom, the founder of D’Art Shtajio

The growing presence of Black creators like Isom in the anime industry is reshaping the genre, advocating for respectful and authentic representation of Black characters, and moving away from stereotypical or caricatured depictions. By grafting African-American experiences onto an anime framework, studios like D’Art Shtajio exemplify how Black creators utilize the medium to tell their stories, engage with themes of resistance and liberation, and speak in the language of African-Americans.

As a medium, anime has captivated audiences worldwide with its unique blend of vibrant art styles, intricate narratives, and deep thematic explorations. Its visual and narrative impact, particularly on Black creators and audiences, underscores a rich tapestry of artistic inspiration and cultural resonance. This section delves into how anime’s storytelling and aesthetics have influenced artistic expression within the Black community and highlights examples of this dynamic interplay.

Artistic Inspiration: Anime’s Visual and Narrative Impact

Anime distinguishes itself through a distinct visual language that combines traditional Japanese art with modern animation techniques. This blend creates a style that is both expressive and emotionally resonant, characterized by dynamic compositions, expressive character designs, and meticulously detailed backgrounds. The art of Osamu Tezuka, often hailed as the “Godfather of Manga,” laid the groundwork for this visual language. His work, known for its expressive eyes and intricate backgrounds, has inspired countless artists across the globe, including many Black creators.

The visual storytelling in anime, from the sweeping landscapes of “Spirited Away” to the gritty urban settings of “Akira,” offers a canvas for exploring complex themes such as identity, community, and resilience. These themes resonate deeply with Black audiences and creators, who often navigate similar life and work narratives. The ability of anime to depict a wide range of human emotions and experiences through its art has inspired Black artists to incorporate anime’s aesthetic into their creative expressions, blending cultural motifs with anime’s signature style.

Anime’s narrative depth is another aspect that has significantly impacted Black creators and audiences. Unlike traditional Western animation, which has historically targeted younger audiences, anime spans various genres and themes, addressing complex societal issues, moral dilemmas, and existential questions. This narrative complexity allows for a deeper engagement with the material, offering Black creators and audiences stories that reflect their own experiences and challenges.


Megan Thee Stallion’s ascent from a fervent anime fan to a cultural ambassador for the genre is a narrative that encapsulates the transformative power of storytelling. Her role in the Crunchyroll Anime Awards is more than a ceremonial position; it symbolizes the evolving relationship between anime and its increasingly diverse audience. Megan’s journey is a testament to the medium’s universal appeal and capacity to bridge cultural and racial divides through shared narratives that resonate with audiences from all walks of life.

Anime, with its rich tapestry of stories that span the spectrum of human emotion and experience, has long been a medium that offers escapism and reflection. Its ability to tackle complex themes—ranging from the struggles of the human condition to the celebration of triumph over adversity—has a particular resonance with Black culture, which shares a similar narrative of resilience and perseverance. Megan Thee Stallion’s embrace of anime highlights these parallels, bringing to the forefront the shared experiences and values that unite fans worldwide.


Written by: Tarik Moody

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