Pop Culture

Mindy Kaling’s Velma Will Be East Asian and White People Are NOT Okay

velma dinkley, mindy kaling

In February, HBO Max announced new additions to their adult animation line-up. Among them was Velma, an original series based on Scooby Doo alum and O.G. Mary Sue Velma Dinkley, with Mindy Kaling voicing the title character. Today at The TV Kids Summer Festival, Tom Ascheim, president of Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics, revealed new details about the upcoming series.

Ascheim said, “We have a not for children, Mindy Kaling project called Velma because she was excited to reimagine what Scooby-Doo would be like if Velma were of East Asian descent and lived in a different world. And in that version, which is going on HBO Max first, there’s no dog and no van but we have our 4 key characters through a different lens and I think it’s great. Allowing our creators to play with our IP is super powerful.”

Naturally, news of the historically white Velma being East Asian rankled a certain racist subset of internet trolls who lose their damn minds every time a white cartoon character becomes a person of color. We saw it in the racist backlash against singer-actress Halle Bailey when she was cast in Disney’s upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid. And we saw it when Zendaya was cast as Mary Jane in the Spider-Man films.

It’s the same group of trolls who whine about She-Ra not being “hot” anymore. Because privilege is the voice of a thousand angry incels screaming “this cartoon character isn’t white and isn’t giving me a boner!” into the vast cavern of the internet.

In addition to Velma not being white anymore, folks online are upset that Velma will set aside Scooby and the mystery van for a completely different plot. Many question whether it’s even still Velma if she’s not solving mysteries and palling around with the iconic Great Dane. To which I say: who cares? It’s adult animation, there are no rules. No one was bothered by Harvey Birdman being a lawyer. No one was upset about Space Ghost hosting his own talk show. Adult animation is ALL about flipping the script on cartoon tropes and clichés and finding the humor in making fun of our childhood faves. So maybe don’t be so precious with interpretations of your favorite cartoons. After all, there is still plenty of Scooby Doo content out there for diehards of the original line-up.

For that matter, this isn’t the first time Velma has been played by a person of Asian descent. Singer Hayley Kiyoko portrayed Velma in the made for TV movies Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins and Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster. So everyone can take SEVERAL seats.

Honestly, the real question we have is whether or not the series will address Velma’s status as a queer girl icon. Let Velma kiss girls, you cowards!

Many took to social media to weigh in on Velma:

(via Toonado, image: Warner Bros./NBC Universal Television/Hulu)

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