The High-Spirited Animated Series Will Highlight the Extraordinary Tales of African American Heroes

Los Angeles, California — Frederator Studios, the leading independent producer of cartoons for television and video, has optioned the Black History-themed plays, Hidden Heroes, by renowned journalist, historian and Andy Warhol superstar, Abigail McGrath. The series will be developed by Shawnee’ Gibbs and Shawnelle Gibbs, who have most recently served as Staff Writers for HBO Max’s upcoming animated series, Little Ellen.
The animated series will build on McGrath’s Hidden Heroes– a series of plays that highlight the extraordinary tales of African American Heroes, including Frederick Douglass, Crispus Attucks, Benjamin Banneker- to also feature women and people of other ethnic groups, who have been overlooked or left out of traditional history book curriculum. The plays were originally performed in a Commedia dell’arte style on the streets of New York City by McGrath’s legendary Off Center Theatre.
A conversation between Michael Hirsh, CEO of Frederator Studios, and Abigail McGrath sparked the idea of a Hidden Heroes during the Renaissance House’s annual production of What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? by Frederick Douglass. Renaissance House has been producing this event for more than twenty years.
Hirsh says, “As long time friends and collaborators Abigail and I agree that the timing could not be more perfect for an adaptation of these plays and historical stories into an animation series. We all need to know more about these ‘hidden heroes’.”
Abigail McGrath says: “Hidden Heroes is a passion project to spotlight underrepresented trailblazers. My desire is for it to be a co-viewing experience that makes history vivid and vivacious. There is no man in the world I trust more than Michael Hirsh and Frederator to bring these legends to life and into people’s hearts with dignity and humor.”
Shawnee’ Gibbs: “It’s an honor to be collaborating with Abigail and Frederator on such a relevant and much needed series in the kids and family space.”
Shawnelle Gibbs: “We’re so in love with this project and are excited about the potential it has to inspire the next generation of heroes.”
Nikki Price, Director of Development, will shepherd Hidden Heroes at Frederator. The deal was negotiated by attorney Benson McGrath.
About Abigail McGrath
McGrath was a star of the Andy Warhol directed film Tub Girls, and the inspiration for Harlem Renaissance leader Dorothy West’s best-selling novel, The Wedding, which Oprah Winfrey produced as a TV movie. McGrath is also the founder of Renaissance House on Martha’s Vineyard, a famed retreat for writers who focus on issues of race, gender equality and social justice.
About the Gibbs Sisters
The Gibbs Sisters (Shawnee´ Gibbs & Shawnelle Gibbs) are a writing team from Oakland, California with backgrounds in television, animation, and comics. They have written for Warner Bros. Animation, Mattel Studios and Dreamworks Animation. Their debut graphic novel Ghost Roast published by Harper Collins is scheduled to debut in Fall 2023. The sisters are active members of Writers Guild of America, West, Women in Animation and The Animation Guild.
Founded in 1998, Frederator Studios is an Emmy-award winning animation studio with hits like Nickelodeon’s “The Fairly OddParents,” Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time,” Netflix’s “Castlevania,” and Netflix’s “Bee and PuppyCat,” which won Best Animated Series at the 2019 Ottawa International Animation Festival. Frederator Studios has produced 19 series and more than 250 short films for and with partners including Netflix, Amazon, Google, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Sony Pictures Animation, and Cartoon Network.