The beauty of fiction is that it leads us into endless worlds, concerning our imagination. Fiction leads us into masterful tales and stories, surrounding how we can create, and what we create! Its a phenomenal atmosphere. Creativity excites the human imagination, and provides a certain level of mystique, when it comes to venturing into infinite possibilities. Its amazing how the likes of childhood grants us with the ability to delve into creativity’s haven. It is unapologetic in doing so. Furthermore, we are also provided with another opportunity for shattering any boundaries and constrictions of adulthood.
When an adult ventures professionally, into the realm of childhood’s domain, there is a calming atmosphere, arises. Cartoonists provide the opportunity for adults to return to the beauties of childhood. In fact, it is as if they never left. A cartoonist is the perfect example, in how adults can retain the world of childhood, while continuing to deal with the responsibilities of an adult. Ah! Don’t we wish that all professions could be like that! If only life could be as sweet and innocent as a child. There is just something so docile and gentile in being able to stay in tuned with a child’s mind; while also moving through the adult world. Cartoons are extremely nourishing for the human Spirit. They bring forth an awareness of gentility and decor. Furthermore, there is a sense of love and innocence that we are able to engage with. With our fictional characters, and their reflections into the Spiritual realm, cartoons provide us with the blueprint for manifesting joy and abundance on Earth.
When we examine the world of Black American cartoonists, there is a particular beauty radiating from this industry. If we are speaking about the 1950’s, cartoons became the realm for therapeutic healing. Cartoons have the power and might to transition between the real and fictional worlds. In fact, they grant us permission in bringing our authentic selves into this other world. Its as if we get to stand back and observe how we would look, if we could become our very own cartoon. The greatness of this world, in the arena of cartoons, is how they provide us with the realities we wish to see. What we are unable to live in real life, we are permitted to witness, through cartoons. Exciting, isn’t it?
For Black American people, the presence of cartoons, reflective of memories from our community, is simply one way to articulate society from our point of view. Cartoons were a form of activism, which portrayed Black American people with the ability to convey what we like and what we didn’t like. Those gifted artists, acquiring the privilege to do so, are the guardians for Black American voices, within the context of US society. There is a mysterious fascination, when it comes to being able to draw yourself into a world, where you are given, voice! Fascinating, indeed!
One of those Sheroes within our community-a woman who hopped us into the world of imagination, and fascination, is none other than the legendary. . .
What led to the success of Jackie Ormes‘ cartoons is that they presented Black American people as human. There was a nurturing, and powerful element, in the depiction of these characters. They did not comply with the status quo, or pretend that everything is alright. On the contrary, the characters, created by Jackie Ormes were staunch and steadfast in their ability to bring forth the humanity of Black American characters. From the iconic characters of Torchy Brown, Candy, Patty Jo, and Ginger, the design of certain Black American characters conveyed the stories of Black American her/history and culture. Each of these characters brought nourishment and joy in the storytelling of Black America’s presence within foreign landscapes; and the very artistry of using one’s Being in bringing familiarity of one’s positioning within a certain spacing.
Through the world of Torchy Brown, one particular her/historical lens of Black American soiling is awakened! For those of you all unaware, Torchy Brown is a young, Black American Mississippi teenager, who heads north to New York City, in order to try her luck in performing at the Cotton Club. In this adventure of Torchy Brown, readers experience the movement of Black American migration patterns; from the South to the North. There are many lessons, in this regard. Just imagine this! A young, dutiful Maiden, who brings out all the vivaciousness of the South, and in turn transfers it to the North for a new life, new vibe, a hip style! What is hidden within this tale, is that the very story line of Torchy Brown being, and her initial introduction to living up North, is the beginning to the birth of new cultural aesthetics for Black America’s gardens. Its that turning point, where we see how Black American music and culture is being morphed, based on the power of movement and migration.
In venturing to the characters of Patty Jo n’ Ginger, viewers are introduced to one intellectual side of Black America, and pertinent social issues, during the time. In the June 26, 1948 edition, there is the discussion of education, and substandard qualities for Black American children, in the inner city between Patty Jo and her sister Ginger. Furthermore, there is also the discussion in support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, such as Tuskegee University and Howard University from the federal government. The richness in highlighting this particular character, is that the conversation is still relevant, to this present day. Its resonates then, and it resonates, today! Where a number of individuals were not able to articulate these injustices, within the workplace, cartoons and artistry made them possible. There was a level of safety, which was nourished, and it was not only for the Black American audience. A safety net of entering into Black American issues and spaces, in the comforts of one’s home, became possible. And, it was all through the work of Jackie Ormes!
The innocence of cartoons is magical. Cartoons have that wonderful power in being able to make the most serious and difficult topics easy to converse upon. That is one of the most popular dynamics about it. There is an easiness and calming factor for people to gain understanding about societal and political topics, without being judged. People don’t feel they are being ridiculed, should they decide to venture into the domain of another audience, and learn what it is like to be on the other side. For White American audiences, Jackie Ormes gave them the opportunity to see a totally different side of the American Dream. Cartoons made it safe! Cartoons conveyed those pressing conversations, but with a light touch. Its one of those silent modes of transformation. When you paint the truth, and lay it out for all to see, in the most comforting way, and within their own time, the conversation has a softer approach. Even if you have never lived that experience, or have gone through that particular reality, you at least, learn about things, which are happening! Suddenly, through a child’s lens, you get to read about this different world. Finally, a bridge into humanity is re-connected.
Its amazing that no matter how old we become, cartoons never get old! Seriously. Whenever we get lost in this experience of adulthood, we can always return. There is wellness in being able to go into that magical place, when the world tells us that we shouldn’t. It is one of the most powerful and genius things, we can do for ourselves. After all, who ever stated that there is a limit, or cut off age, when humanity can experience that sacred world of childhood’s creativity? Whoever stated that we have to limit ourselves from this, while taking care of adult responsibilities? Can’t the two go hand-in-hand? I think they can. Yes! I think so. Furthermore, they are also complements of each other. Where one is lacking, the other suffices. They support each other. Childhood and adult realms are intertwined with each other. That is how it should be! It is just as pleasant. It is just as giddy, and there is nothing wrong with that.
So, let’s explore that inner child. Return to that moment when you were able to create characters and lay in the world of make believe and pretend. And when you have finally finished, live Baby! Live! And never forget that joy, adventure, and liberation, of when you so easily jumped into the other world of, a child!
For more information on JACKIE ORMES, you can go to the following link: