Emboldening the Future: An Interview with Joshua Leonard


This newest interview finds us meeting one of the most fascinating men in the Animation Industry today, his name is Joshua Leonard and he is a Character Designer, also the creator of his own Animated Series called Team Supreme, featuring kids who have a disability, but their disability is their superpower! Also in his credits that he has worked for well-known companies such as Netflix, Nickelodeon and owns an Art Studio, Leonard Studios. Today, he will be telling us about his new series, his thoughts concerning what needs to be done addressing and fixing the problem about the low percentage that African American Animators hold in the Animation Industry, and Without further ado, let’s meet Mr. Leonard!

Image Credit: Leonard Studios

Red: What is Team Supreme? And what was your inspiration for creating this new team?

Joshua: Team Supreme is a cartoon I created that features kids who have a disability, but their disability is their super power. I’m blessed to be working and developing my show with Jason Weaver (Lion King), Lena Waithe (The Chi), and her Production Company Hillman Grad. My inspiration for creating this team was just growing up and seeing a lack of inclusion and diversity in film, and cartoons. I wanted to change that.


Red: What do you find the greatest challenge when it comes to emboldening those with Special Needs?

Joshua: Great question. I feel like the greatest challenge when it comes to emboldening those with special needs is just the sensitivity of the topic. My team and I are making sure we consult, and work with many different people who actually have these needs to make sure we use the proper terms, etc… What’s so dope about Team Supreme is that it will also be inclusive in the writers room, the actors, etc… 

Red: In your past interviews with Companies such as Ozy, Atlanta Film and TV you have mentioned that African Americans hold less than 3% of the Industry in Animation, what needs to be done to fix this problem?

Joshua: It’s a very unfortunate number, but the change is already being made by me making this cartoon. Companies must also be fair when it comes to hiring people. If someone gets a job over me because they’re better than me, that’s acceptable, but if they are hired over me because of my skin complexion that’s a major problem. With a show like Team Supreme, the diversity and inclusion is right in Hollywood’s face, so hopefully they understand how crucial this is, and is needed.

Red: You have mentioned that you have worked for Animation Companies such as Nickelodeon, Netflix, what was it like working for two big companies such as these two?

Joshua: I’ve done freelance work for Nickelodeon, and Netflix, which is awesome. I’m very grateful that they have given me the opportunity to work, learn, and grow as an artist with their company. With freelance, that means they come to me as an extra artist for character designs, and after I get done, that’s it until they come back for more characters or other shows. I’ve worked on 2 Nickelodeon shows that I’m unable to mention, and 1 Netflix Animated Feature Film that is currently in development. I currently work for Netflix Animation. Working at these companies has really made me appreciate how hard I’ve worked to get here, and noticed. I’m very humbled.


Red: Do you have any advice for Black Artists, Black Creators who are trying to make their mark in the Industry?

Joshua: Absolutely. My advice for other black artists, and creatives who are trying to make their mark in the industry would be to stay focused, be patient, stay humble, and don’t compare your success to other people’s success. Listen to the tips industry professionals give out, and learn from them. 

Thank you to Mr. Leonard for the Interview, for your hard work, and for what you have done for children with disabilities. If you want to read my other interviews with incredible Creators and Artists like Joshua Leonard, click here! Also, here are other places to find Joshua at:

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