The early 2000s animated series The Proud Family celebrated Blackness and represented Black families on screen. Airing on the Disney Channel, it also tackled serious subjects such as bullying, religion, and homelessness. Its new reboot The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder is no different. One episode, in particular, has recently gained traction online for its representation of the autism spectrum and its candid conversation on autism diagnoses.
In the episode, the family becomes concerned with young BeBe’s lack of fear. They are recommended to see child psychologist Dr. Lord, who says that BeBe is showing signs of being on the autism spectrum. A short clip from the episode was shared on Twitter, where parents Oscar and Trudy first hear and respond to the diagnosis. Oscar has trouble understanding the diagnosis and accuses Dr. Lord of calling BeBe “stupid.” Oscar initially wants to leave, calling the psychologist a “quack.”
Eventually, Oscar sits to listen to Dr. Lord, who explains that her tests show BeBe is incredibly intelligent, curious, and fearless. She states, “all an autism diagnosis means is Bebe will need a little extra effort and attention.” Dr. Lord also adds “needing support doesn’t mean lack of ability,” and emphasizes the importance of the family believing in BeBe, as well as teaching and helping him.
The clip ends with Trudy and Oscar saying goodbye to BeBe as they drop him off at Dr. Lord’s daycare. Trudy kisses him and tells him to behave himself. Oscar looks troubled, unsure of how to interact with BeBe, until BeBe reaches for him and giggles, “Daddy.” Oscar smiles, then sweetly hugs his son. The embrace ends with Oscar saying, “Keep your head up.”
The tweet with the short clip comments, “…the way they went about it has me emotional. Beautiful job. I also love the fact that they didn’t sugarcoat Oscar’s reaction. Because it is natural.” With millions of views, over 70,000 likes, and over 10,000 retweets, it seems it’s made others emotional as well. The clip has been lauded by many for sharing varied, frank reactions to autism diagnosis and for spreading autism awareness. One viewer says, “As me being an autistic Black woman myself, I am so happy that this representation is shown. I grew up watching The Proud Family when I was a child, too.”
Along with representation on screen, the show made sure the representation behind the scenes is equally as important. Dr. Lord is voiced by Holly Robinson Peete, who has a son with autism. She has dedicated herself to decades of philanthropic work, advocating for the autism community through her HollyRod Foundation. BeBe is voiced by seven-year-old Aiden Dodson, an African American boy on the autism spectrum.
Scroll below to see the emotional clip of BeBe’s autism diagnoses in The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, which is available to stream on Disney+.
The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder has recently gained traction online for its representation of autism and its candid conversation on autism diagnoses.
The Proud Family reboot mentions Bebe being on the spectrum and the way they went about it has me emotional. Beautiful job. I also love the fact that they didn’t sugarcoat Oscar’s reaction. Because it is natural. pic.twitter.com/JWvQCTLcNX
— Gee💖 (@heyygeorgy) February 2, 2023
With millions of views and thousands of likes and retweets, it seems it’s made others emotional as well.
I was a bit emotional but this is so comforting omg
— Gee💖 (@heyygeorgy) February 2, 2023
The clip has been lauded by many for sharing varied, frank reactions to an autism diagnosis.
Man… autism being explicitly mentioned, explained in detail, and overall treated with heavy respect – and in a mainstream family cartoon. You love to freaking see it.#TheProudFamilyLouderAndProuder pic.twitter.com/rf58SgZBrn
— Toon4Thought (@Toon4Thought) February 2, 2023
Many have found comfort in the show’s inclusion of autism and have praised the show for its representation of autism.
I am so proud of The Proud Family talking about autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As me being an autistic Black woman myself, I am so happy that this representation is shown. I grew up watching The Proud Family when I was a child, too. https://t.co/8PEJEkVuL5
— Reina Leigh Hudspeth (@HudspethLeigh) February 2, 2023
I hope soo and I hope we are more open and understanding towards them
— Gee💖 (@heyygeorgy) February 3, 2023
Along with representation on screen, the show made sure the representation behind the scenes is equally as important.
They diagnosed Bebe with Autism on the Proud Family show – the writers did such a great job presenting the diagnoses to parents in a realistic point of view 🏽
They also used a real 7 yr old African American boy with Autism to play his voice 🏽 His name is Aiden Dodson.
— Arieanna Amari Alvarado🌞🌻✨ (@ArAmariAl) February 2, 2023
Wait I’m even more emotional about that Proud Family autism tweet bc Holly Robinson Peete is voicing the doctor , big claps for the writers & casting people
— Slim Brulée ✨ (@alottabitboojie) February 2, 2023