Carl Jones is a hidden gem in the world of Black animation. He is the creative force behind some of the most impactful Black animation features to date and has even started an animation studio, called Martian Blueberry, one of the first of its caliber, celebrating and hiring black creators in the animation space.
“Undeniable” is a creative and live-action production, spearheaded by Invisible Collective founder, Justin Polk, who tapped Carl Jones and his animation studio Martian Blueberry, to bring the project to life through Jones’ ability to highlight untold stories by showcasing them through the exquisite and detailed comic-strip style animation. The MLB series is a contemporary retelling of the Negro Leagues’ history and impact on the game, including its most legendary players, historic female ballplayers, and the Negro Leagues’ influence internationally.
Tell us about “Undeniable.”
It’s an opportunity to tell these stories. I wasn’t even familiar with the fact that there were women in the Negro Leagues, so it was educational for me as well. I know the majority of the world doesn’t know it. You have Connie Morgan and Mamie “Peanut” Johnson who were powerful, iconic baseball players that were female and I don’t think people truly understand the courage that it took … as a Black woman in that time period to be in a male-dominated society. But it’s one of those things where you see the strength of our people, specifically women, from that era and today, and our women have always gone against obstacles and odds that are beyond what anyone else on the planet had to face, and they always rose to the occasion. I think it’s inspiring, and with me having daughters, I feel like this would be inspiring for them.
What was your creative process with this project?
When I’m approaching any animation as a director, I always start with what I think I want people to feel watching the piece. I always start with a motion first, and then I get into style. I think about what I want people to feel, then I start getting into what is a visual language that can transact and that can communicate that feeling. Because these stories took place in an older time period, I wanted there to be somewhat of a nostalgia there, that’s why we use a lot of muted color palettes, so it doesn’t feel modern.
But these people are very strong people and the stories that we’re telling have a lot of weight when you put them in context with civil rights and other things that were going on at the time. So, I chose to go with some heavy black line weight on the characters. The lines are thick at times, and there’s a heavy black shadow on a lot of the characters, so it makes you feel the weightiness of the time period.