Minorities in cartoons: Tip

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is Tip (full name: Gratuity Tucci), a character from the 2015 DreamWorks film “Home.”

Background

“Home” is about a group of bumbling but highly advanced aliens, the Boov, who’re on the run from a powerful enemy, and looking for a new planet to settle. In an analogy to Earth’s colonization history, the Boov soon discover Earth. They proceed to very quickly take over, resettling all of Earth’s humans to Australia.

One human escapes the mass resettling: Tip, a preteen girl who hides out in her New York apartment building, planning to track down her mother’s whereabouts. She soon encounters, and teams up with, “Oh,” a Boov who’s an outcast (and strongly disliked) among his people for his independent streak and perpetually cheerful but bumbling nature. Together, the two set out to find Tip’s mother, while Oh learns more about Earth ways/humans.

Tip was born in Barbados, before her family moved to New York. Despite her young age (and living in mass transit-reliant New York), Tip’s somehow taught herself how to drive.

I’ve written about “Home”/Tip before, but since this is a dedicated “minorities in cartoons” post, I’ll summarize. Tip represents the first African-American female character to star in a CGI animated feature, which is definitely a big deal. Tip comes after years of CGI animated films starring toys, aliens, monsters, robots, anthropomorphized human emotions, ogres, talking snails, talking dogs, talking ants (two films!), Scandinavian ice princesses, Scottish princesses, etc.—everything but an African-American starring character.

Fortunately, “Home” did fairly well for DreamWorks, which badly needed a hit after a series of previous films that were mediocre at the box office. The film at the box office ultimately pulled in $177.4 million domestically (narrowly beating “How to Train Your Dragon 2”), and $387.3 million globally, all on a $135 million budget.

Voice actors

R&B singer Rihanna voiced Tip.

“Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons voiced Oh.

Rihanna’s fellow pop singer Jennifer Lopez voiced Tip’s mother.

(Updated 11/25/16)

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