Classic American cartoon character gets a ‘Black girl magic’ makeover

Atlanta entrepreneur Shay Levister, an author and certified master seductress, recently announced her partnership with Fleischer Studios as a part of their Betty of The People Initiative. The program aims to create designs that promote community, equity, unity, and inclusion.

Through the partnership, Levister was able to create Black Betty Boop by Shay ‘Your Love Diva,’ an online shop with merchandise that features Betty Boop as a Black woman.

Presented as a capsule collection, the shop consists of t-shirts, shoes, coffee mugs, luggage, car seat covers, and other miscellaneous items with the image of Black Betty Boop.

“While Black Betty Boop by Shay Your Love Diva maintains the spirit of the original icon, it was vital for us to create a character that stood in her own right,” Levister said. “So, Black Betty Boop by Shay Your Love Diva is not merely a reimagining of the original Betty Boop but a distinct entity, a beacon of African American beauty and pride. Her full lips, slanted eyes, and characteristic African American hairstyles – all styled with the iconic Betty Boop flair – are more than aesthetic decisions; they are powerful symbols.” 

(Photo Credit: Black Betty Boop by Shay ‘Your Love Diva)

Fleischer Studios is the original animation studio that created the Betty Boop character. Created by Max Fleischer, one of the co-founders of the company, Betty Boop first appeared on television in 1930. The studio is also responsible for producing the television animations for Popeye The Sailor and Superman. 

“Shay’s love for Betty Boop and passion to make Betty more accessible to her community is truly inspiring,” said Mark Fleischer, chairman/CEO of Fleischer Studios. “ She is really a wonderful partner in Fleischer Studios’ initiative ‘Betty of the People’ under which Fleischer Studios is reaching out to identity communities to become our partners in making Betty’s universal values resonate as diverse and inclusive as possible.”

 Fleischer Studios reached out to Levister to become a part of their Betty of the People initiative and to partner to create Black Betty Boop. The partners worked together to create a version of Betty Boop with the diverse beauty of the African Diaspora.

After research, they came to the conclusion that blending all the shades across the spectrum of Black skin tones would lead to a unique complexion that captured the essence of Black beauty.

The collection was able to attract over 20,000 visitors after going live on June 1.

(Photo Credit: (Photo Credit: Black Betty Boop by Shay ‘Your Love Diva))

“Betty Boop is a beacon of women’s empowerment, a character that embodies the grace, tenacity, and resilience of women everywhere. Her character underscores the dynamic spirit of modern womanhood — confident, assertive, and unapologetically herself,” Levister said. 

Customers only have a limited time to purchase the current collection before another is released. Fleischer Studios and Lavister plan to unveil two new designs in September. 

For more information about Black Betty Boop or to purchase items from the collection, visit

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