Taylor K. Shaw is a visionary animator and CEO who has been named as part of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. We caught up with her to talk about her company, Black Women Animate, and how they are working to bring more inclusivity to the animation industry.
The Knockturnal: What is your favorite animated series?
Taylor K. Shaw: “The Boondocks”!
The Knockturnal: What kind of animated shows has your company worked on?
Taylor K. Shaw: We’ve developed both kids and adult animated content for the likes of Hello Sunshine and MTV Studios. Our latest released work is a truly inspiring episode of the Hulu series Your Attention Please featuring climate activist Maya Penn. She’s for sure a future president!
The Knockturnal: How do you feel seeing shows like “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” and “Steven Universe” normalize LGBTQ+ voices for a young audience watching these shows?
Taylor K. Shaw: This is a great step forward. Inclusion in animation has a long way to go. I’m happy to see more queer identities being represented in animation because in many cases it normalizes gender fluidity for children. I believe this will really help the next generation be more of their authentic selves.
The Knockturnal: In which ways do you think that the animation industry can be more inclusive to women of color and LGBTQ+ people of every gender?
Taylor K. Shaw: Hire us. Hire Black talent. Hire women of color. Hire trans people. Hire nonbinary folx. Hire queer folks. Many studios still have a limited view of diversity. The first thing they think is, “We should hire more women.” Yes, hire more women and also recognize that identities are often intersectional. There are underrepresented groups that have little to no presence in animation. Take a look internally and change that.
The Knockturnal: How does it feel knowing you’re on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list?
Taylor K. Shaw: It’s always an honor to be recognized for your contributions to the industry. I am grateful for the recognition and also hopeful that it inspires more Black women to create space for themselves and their communities. Never give up on your dreams!
The Knockturnal: How does your company juggle multiple clients?
Taylor K. Shaw: As our Managing Partner JLove likes to say, we are committed to delivering excellence on time and under budget. As a young company, we’re hungry. We are deeply fueled by our desire to transform representation in animation. So we juggle multiple clients by being extremely organized and leaning on our phenomenal team. Thank you BWA Team!
The Knockturnal: What’s next on the horizon for BWA Studios?
Taylor K. Shaw: Our IP! We are so excited for the shows we’re cookin’ up. We have a first-look deal with Warner Media through their 150 Program. Very excited for what’s to come from that. Please keep a lookout for our content and also tune in this weekend to our annual boot camp and the first-ever Black in Animation Awards.
Black Women Animate’s first-ever Black in Animation Awards Show airs on Sunday, December 6th. The theme of this year’s inaugural event is “Honoring Our Stories” – honoring Black people in animation who have and currently are paving the way.
This show will be in partnership with Cartoon Network Studios and audiences can register via https://www.bwabootcamp.com/. Grammy award-winning artist, Estelle, will be hosting the evening and performing as part of the night.