Jenny Slate opens up about decision to quit playing Missy on Big Mouth
Jenny Slate has opened up about her decision to stop playing a Black character in Big Mouth.
Slate was the original voice of Missy in the adult animated series, which became a cult hit following its Netflix premiere in 2017.
When the actor announced her departure in 2020, she said she had “reasoned that it was permissible for me to play Missy because her mom is Jewish and white – as am I”, but continued: “Missy is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.”
Elaborating upon her decision in a new interview with The Independent, Slate said: “I assessed the choices I made and I knew that they were wrong. I wanted to depart and make space for performers who should be playing the part I was playing.”
Slate added that the “general feeling of grief” following the killing of George Floyd inspired the move, also.
“I think for white people those discussions were difficult because, at least for me as a white person, it was about finding a way to get past [those feelings of] useless shame and start to be a person who is learning what I need to learn and what I should have learned before.”
However, Slate remains appreciative of her time on the series.
“I loved being on Big Mouth. I love working with Nick Kroll. He’s one of my oldest friends and I still do small parts on that show, but I think we all agreed that that was the right thing to do.”
Slate was replaced in the fifth season by Ayo Edebiri, who also stars in the hit drama The Bear.
Meanwhile, Slate is the lead voice star in Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, which is in cinemas now.