On the heels of Afro Animation, a 2-day networking summit for black people in the animation industry, it is only right we feature a black woman in our first Women In Animation feature.
Meet Monique, a creator and trailblazer working in a male-dominated industry where “23.6% of animation artists are women and 76.4% are men” per Zippia. Monique with her platforms SimplyRobotix and Diversetoons is working to create the elusive blueprint to success as a black person in animation from her personal experiences and those within her network.
Tell us about yourself. Who is Monique Henry-Hudson?
I am a podcaster, filmmaker and artist that is deeply passionate about animation!
What is SimplyRobotix? What’s the one thing you want viewers to walk away with after visiting your platform?
SimplyRobotix is my corner of the internet. It’s become a place where I share my personal and professional accounts of my journey. As well as showcase my art, and share what I’m learning and experiencing in the industry.
One thing I’d want viewers to walk away with after visiting my platform is that there are many ways to do things. Find what works best for you and go for it.
You come across black talent with your DiverseToons work, a traveling animation panel series focusing on highlighting the work of people of color in the industry. What has been the most shocking story you have heard thus far from this series?
In one of our first events, we learned that a panelists learned about career opportunities in the animation industry while he was incarcerated. That was truly amazing! He has excelled and worked on many of the films you watch and no one would assume his past based on what he is doing now.
As a black woman, what has been the most challenging aspect of life in the animation/production world?
The most challenging part has been trying to find the blueprint. For a lot of industries even if they haven’t had their “first Black woman to do a thing yet” there are at least visible Black women there. In animation, it is much harder to find senior women to connect with professionally for advice or as mentors.
You offer tailored consultation services to individuals interested in the animation industry including animation development and talent recruitment, what made you want to offer these services to people?
I get approached A LOT. Despite charging for these services, I’m not a gatekeeper of information. With that being said, I noticed that for one reason or another some people became more like leaches because of the company I work for, it wasn’t genuine. I was encouraged to make it a service that way I would be connected with people who are truly seeking the information thus, making it a better experience for all parties. So far it was been very wonderful! Part of the reason why I moved into production management from being an artist / animator is because A LOT of creatives are not given or have access to relevant and essential information that I’ve the privilege of learning; from both reading and by being on this side of production. So ,I’m happy to be able to share what I know!
Do you follow the journey of your clients after providing services to see how far they go? If so, who/what has been your biggest success to-date?
I still haven’t officially announced my services, so I only have a few clients. I send them information that I come across, if it is helpful for what they are doing. I have one client that has asked me to come on board as an advisor, so I’m trying to figure out what that looks like for me.
If you could turn any book into animation, what book would it be and why?
Unfortunately, I don’t read as much as I wish I did. Most of what I read are self-help books or production related books.
What advice do you have for black women and men trying to get their first job in production?
Be persistent but not annoying, and network! Too often, people treat networking as a one way street and wonder why people don’t engage with their posts or their tweets but are you engaging with people? For persistency, I’ve noticed and I understand that people give up too quickly. Life is hard, we are thrown curve balls and kicked when we’re already down. We may feel invisible and like no one is paying attention or cares however, you never know who is watching you and is just waiting to connect you or put you on to an opportunity.
The Our Stories, Our Way Fast Three!
What’s your favorite song at the moment?
Lately, I’ve been revising Cranes In The Sky by Solange and 10,000 hours by Jhene Aiko.
If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be and why?
I’d like to have lunch with Karen Tolivar. She seems like a good example of what I’d like to accomplish professionally.
What’s your favorite animation in the last five years?
Into The Spiderverse without a DOUBT! I watch it all the time. I talk about it all the time. My friends have started gifting me spiderverse and spiderman stuff.