The 1997 ‘Cinderella’ Starring Brandy and Whitney Houston Will Finally Stream on Disney+ and Fans Can’t Contain Their Excitement
Photo via Disneyplus/Instagram
This one is for all you ’90s babies out there. Since Disney+ launched in 2019, the streaming service provided an endless selection of throw-back titles that sparked all of our nostalgia (we’re looking at you, “Gotta Kick it Up“).
But die-hard Disney fans couldn’t help but notice a mysterious and unexplained absence of a classic from their library. Where was the 1997 classic “Cinderella” starring Brandy?
Well finally, our prayers have been answered. On Thursday, Disney announced that “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” will be available for streaming on Disney+ on February 12th.
Many millennials–and maybe even some older Gen Zers–remember this version of “Cinderella” as the colorblind casting experiment that had a Black princess (played by Brandy), a South Asian prince (played by Paolo Montalban), a white stepmother (played by Bernadette Peters) and a Black fairy godmother (played by the late, great Whitney Houston).
At the time, the TV-movie was groundbreaking for its multiethnic cast. Even the background actors were from racially diverse.
Omg this is the best Cinderella pic.twitter.com/GpYoKOQsTE— CΛROL 🏳️🌈 (@astevenswesley) February 4, 2021
“One of [the casting director’s] mantras, the philosophy that begat ‘Hamilton’ in fact, was to do color blind casting and always cast with diversity,” one of the movie’s producers explained to Shondaland in an oral history about the movie. “It informed how we looked at the world and how we looked at our projects. We want to reflect the world we’re working in.”
“We even got the dancers we wanted,” said another producer. “We cast Latino, Asian, white, and black dancers.”
Since the movie’s premiere in 1997, the entertainment industry has become much more open-minded when it comes to colorblind casting–a term that has now evolved into “color-conscious casting“.
Colorblind/conscious casting has become more mainstream due to cultural phenomena like “Hamilton” and “Bridgerton“.
This movie taught me the power of colorblind casting and how it produces the highest quality portrayal of the script— flickering flame (@SirHawksA_Lot) February 4, 2021
According to Diep Tran, the associate editor of American Theatre magazine, color-conscious casting means “we’re aware of the historic discrimination in the entertainment industry and we’re also aware of what it means to put a body of color onstage.”
Naturally, fans of the 1997 film are over-the-moon that this Disney deep-cut is coming to a streaming service.
Fans have been campaigning for the movie to be on Disney+ since the streaming service launched in 2019
Twitter is awash with celebratory statements like “Brandy and Whitney Houston acting on a screen together is a beautiful blessing” and “IN TIME FOR VALENTINE’S DAY!!! GUESS WHAT MY HUSBAND IS NOW GOING TO BE FORCED TO WATCH WITH ME!!!”… Hey, that last one isn’t really a bad idea.
We, for one, will definitely be tuning in on February 12th to take a much-need walk down memory lane.
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