Hey, hey, hey, Fat Albert — step aside for Macy Gray.
The funk-soul singer is developing a semi-autobiographical cartoon series centered around an adolescent version of herself and her ‘hood.
“It’s a coming-of-age [show,] with me and my friends growing up in a neighborhood, going to school everyday,” Gray said of the still-untitled project last week. “One of the hooks is that we’re gonna have other celebrities as kids.
“Like, say, Erykah Badu lives across town, but she comes and hangs out with me and she comes when I have a slumber party. And say there’s this little character of Shaq, and he’s on the basketball team,” she said, offering up hypothetical examples.
“It’s real, real crazy. It don’t make any sense, but it’s really cute; it’s adorable. I can’t wait till it comes out.”
Gray will provide her character’s voice; the other roles are still being cast.
The Grammy-winning singer is hoping to have a three-episode pilot done by the fall to shop to the networks, according to her manager, Michael “Blue” Williams. A soundtrack is likely once the series gets going.
“It’s a modern ‘Fat Albert’-type of cartoon, but entirely it’s own thing,” Williams said. “It’s Macy’s neighborhood and her story with surprise guests.”
Gray and the cartoon’s other producers are still trying to decide whether to base the story in Los Angeles or in Gray’s hometown of Canton, Ohio, but are leaning toward L.A.
“It’s all in the very baby stages,” Gray said. “We’ve just got the characters the way they’re going to be shaped and how they’re going to look and a story line.”
While it may be awhile before the project finds a home on television, fans can pick up Gray’s second album, The Id, on September 18. The disc features collaborations with Badu, Angie Stone, Mos Def, the Roots’ ?uestlove, Billy Preston, Raphael Saadiq and Red Hot Chili Pepper John Frusciante.
Gray will also turn up on the big screen in the Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke flick “Training Day,” playing what she calls a “ghetto hoochie-mama queen. My man is a drug dealer, and the police come to my house acting like they’re looking for him. But they’re dirty cops, and they end up jacking me for all the money I have hidden in my back room.”
She and Dr. Dre, who also has a role in the film, are planning to collaborate on a song for the soundtrack.
By Teri vanHorn