Thomas Washington Disney “CEO” is a fictitious character in the “Atlanta” series who, according to the plot, becomes the CEO of The Walt Disney Company by mistake. As seen, Thomas used his tenure to rectify racial imbalances in Disney content, most notably by rewriting the plot of “A Goofy Movie.” He is, however, not the first black character in animation history to have had an indelible impression on the business. Unfortunately, Thomas disappeared from the entertainment industry after witnessing Disney’s hierarchy change the finale of his original film. His wife, on the other hand, claimed that Thomas’ brief tenure had a long-term impact on the company.
However, Who Exactly Was Thomas Ronald Washington?
Contrary to what you may have read on Reddit boards, Thomas Washington is a fake character. The Atlanta series’ creators, Francesca Sloan and Joseph Adcock, created this character. According to the documentary-style program in which he originally appeared, Thomas Washington Disney became The Walt Disney Company’s first black CEO following the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
The protagonist went to Savannah College of Art and Design. He planned to fulfill a childhood ambition of working as an animator for Disney. He was employed by Disney after attending a seminar taught by Art Babbitt, the creator of Goofy. His first job was as an assistant animator on DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp.
When Disney’s interim CEO died in the 1992 riots, the board hired white man Tom Washington, which made things intriguing. Due to a first-name mixup, Thomas Washington Disney filled the seat instead. Despite their dissatisfaction, the board was forced to appoint him.
Many black animators have made substantial contributions to the area of animation in real life, some of which are mentioned below along with their contributions to the animation world.
Floyd Norman, the first African-American animator at Disney, was most likely the writers’ inspiration, according to various sources. Growing up in Santa Barbara, California, Norman claims, shielded him from bigotry. He joined the Disney studio in 1956 and began working as an in-betweener on Sleeping Beauty. He assisted Frank Thomas with the fairies Fauna, Flora, and Merryweather as an inbetweener. Floyd Norman is widely regarded as Disney’s first African-American animator. His work spans decades and productions, ranging from “Sleeping Beauty” to Pixar pictures like “Toy Story 2” and “Monsters, Inc.”
In 2016, Walt Disney released a feature-length documentary commemorating his incredible life. Floyd Norman: An Animated Life is a documentary about his life and career, as well as what pushed him to excel as an animator for the world’s oldest animation studio.
Leo D. Sullivan
Sullivan, an Emmy winner and member of the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, has worked on animation since the 1950s. Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and Tiny Toon Adventures are two of his works.
Brenda is a name you won’t forget if you’ve watched Looney Tunes on HBO Max. She debuted in the 1970s with the animated special B.C.: The First Thanksgiving. As her career grew, Banks’ work appeared in a variety of films and television shows, including The Simpsons, The Pagemaster, and The Smurfs.
Bruce W. Smith
Even if you don’t recognize the name right away, Bruce’s art is difficult to overlook. Throughout his nearly 40-year career, he has held a variety of positions, including animator, writer, character designer, and director. Bruce also has an impressive filmography that includes classics such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Space Jam, A Goofy Movie, and The Princess and the Frog.
LeSean Thomas began his career in animation with shows such as Kim Possible, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He’s also gotten praise for his work as a designer on The Boondocks. Thomas, who is now based in Tokyo, is an anime fan. As a result, he co-produced his original film, Children of the Ether, alongside Crunchyroll. He also developed the popular Netflix anime Yasuke in 2021.
Although Thomas Washington Disney is a hypothetical character, his representation reflects the difficulties and accomplishments of black animators in the industry. Floyd Norman, along with other African-American animators including Leo D. Sullivan, Brenda Banks, Bruce W. Smith, and LeSean Thomas, paved the way for more inclusion and diversity in the world of animation. Their legacies highlight the importance of diversity and the complexity it brings to storytelling.