Valerie Smith has the distinction of being the first African-American female cartoon character on a regular animated television series. She is the third member of the music group Josie and the Pussycats. The group first started as a comic strip in the Archie universe. They weren't a band at first and Valerie wasn't one of the original characters but in 1969 when Josie and Melodie wanted to start a band, they hired Valerie to play the bass. The rest is history...
Valerie is very talented. In the group, she performs back-up vocals, occasionally sings lead and plays the bass, (tambourine in the cartoon). She's the group's main song writer and actually plays multiple instruments. She's also the brains of the group. In addition to her street smarts, she's a mechanical and scientific genius. It's her skills that most often get the group out of whatever jam they're in.
Josie and the Pussycats, the TV series ran for only one season, a mere 16 episodes from 1970 to 1971. In 1972 a spin off called Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space had the cast traveling though space, trying to find their way back home but still using their musical talents. This series only lasted for one season as well (16 episodes). Despite their short seasons, they made enough of an impression to spawn a children's book, a guest appearance on the Scooby Doo Movies, and a live action motion picture in 2001.
In the meantime, enjoy the opening themes to each of the two TV shows: