In a statement on Twitter, he shared, “It has been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but people of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will leave this role. ”
Henry has been a regular on the animated sitcom since its first broadcast in 1999.
He previously claimed to have developed Cleveland’s voice after being inspired by one of his friend’s regional accents.
“I played basketball with this guy and his voice got stuck in my head,” Henry told reporters.
In addition to voicing Cleveland, Henry also voiced the character of the Latin maid Consuela.
When the Cleveland Show spin-off was launched in 2009, Henry also took on the role of Cleveland’s black stepson, Rallo Tubbs.
The series received mixed reviews from critics and was discontinued in 2013 after four seasons.
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane has yet to respond to news of Henry’s departure, but has re-tweeted his statement to his 14 million Twitter followers.
Henry’s decision comes after a number of white actors have made the decision to forgo expressing black characters in animated series in recent months.
In January Hank Azaria said he would no longer express the character of the Indian migrant Apu in The Simpsons after years of controversy and accusations of racism.
This was followed by Kristen Bell and Jenny Slate leaving their respective roles in Central Park and Big Mouth where they voiced black characters.