Entertainment

There Is Going To Be A Remake Of Disney’s ‘Hercules’ And It Is Going To Have An All Black Cast

There’s a new live-action stage version of Disney’s 1997 animated film “Hercules” at the Public Theater in New York City — and Hercules is Black as hell

In 1997, San Francisco Gate’s Peter Sack described the film as, “The great old Greek is turned into a ’90s-style athlete who gets endorsements, sandals named after him and a chance to stand tall among nymphs and muses.”

Sound familiar to you? Lest we not forget this was the same era that Michael Jordan did Space Jam and Shaquille O’Neal did Kazaam. The original animated film took inspiration from major athletes of the time and thus, it inevitably heavily references Black and hood ’90s culture. If you watch it now the sneakers, the gospel music, the humor, it probably seems so obvious. 

One might wonder with all these references to the Black popular culture of the ’90s, why didn’t the creators just make Hercules Black? Well, they finally have.

The story of Hercules.  

While most of us were forced to read and re-read Hercules in secondary school, not everyone may know the story. Hercules is the son of the king and queen of the gods, Zeus and Hera. When a prophecy foretells that he will eventually defeat the god of the underworld, Hades, Hercules is kidnapped as an infant. Unable to kill him, Hades is able to take his immortality away but not his strength. The baby Hercules is raised by a mortal couple. At 18 he figures out his real origins and is determined to become a hero so that he can return to Mount Olympus with the gods.

Meet your new Hercules.

Hercules at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, through The Public Theater’s Public Works Program is based on the 1997 animated film, and has kept Alan Menken’s musical score. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he also created the music for Disney’s Aladdin. Jelani Alladin stars as the demi-god Hercules. Krysta Rodriguez plays his love interest Megara.

The difference between the stage musical and the film is that Disney has finally chosen to embrace their story’s Blackness. Rather than simply coding their narrative as one with allusions to Black culture, they’ve put that Blackness at the forefront and center. That’s what we call growth! Everybody loves Black culture, it’s time we start loving the people who make it. 

Danielle C. Belton of The Root describes the original as having flirted with African-American culture, while this new version embraces a multicultural cast. 

“While the film Hercules only flirted with African-American music and culture—the muses who were the “Greek chorus” throughout the film were patterned after classic, Motown-style Black ‘50s girl groups,” she writes. “This version of ancient Greece and the Greco-Roman gods features quite a few Black, Asian and Latinx people, including Jelani Alladin as the titular teenaged Hercules, and, of course—all five of the doo-wopping muses are…sistas with voices.”

How Hercules gave nods to Black culture. 

Hercules is something of a hood icon. It was the first time many kids probably saw Black women portrayed as the muses and Greek chorus. This gaggle of doo-wopping muses sang the funky, soulful Hercules theme. There were also pivotal aspects of hood culture, some of it is even social commentary. Hercules’s character is parallel to the superstar basketball players of the ’90s, their rabid fans, and endorsement deals. The creators, Ron Clements and John Musker, even referred to Hercules as the Michael Jordan of his time. 

In the movie, we see a young Hercules’ as he rises to fame for being a demi-God with some serious strength. When the hero-worship begins, he snags a sweet endorsement deal — but these aren’t Nike Jordans — they’re fresh to death Hercules sandals called Air-Hercs. When the villain Hades sees that one of his minions is rocking the Hercules sandals his response is simple and iconic: what are those?The phrase has now become a popular meme on Black Twitter going so far as being referenced in the “Black Panther” movieThe hero even has his own version of a Gatorade sponsorship, the drink is called “Herculade.”

A Latinx Megara embraces feminism.

Unlike other Disney women of the era, Megara was never waiting to be saved. She was sarcastic, witty, and pretty unimpressed with Hercules’ attempts to holler at her. Krysa Rodriguez’ Megara puts feminism at the forefront — again we see subtle codes made explicit. 

“In a new song, a pants-clad Meg imagines a world without men, envisioning it as a utopia where she could do as she pleases. A dopey, lovestruck Hercules, seeking to demonstrate his feminist credentials, replies clumsily, ‘My mom’s a woman,’” writes Adrienne Westenfeld for Esquire.

Diversity is always an improvement. We live in a multicultural world, there is never anything wrong with reflecting that in the stories we tell. After all, it’s the stories we tell that teach us who we are and who we will become. For Hercules that is learning the truth about his traumatic past to create a better future — for America, well, it’s no different.

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Disney Just Announced That We Won’t Have To Wait For The Pandemic To End In Order To Watch Mulan— Thank The Ancestors!

Entertainment

Disney Just Announced That We Won’t Have To Wait For The Pandemic To End In Order To Watch Mulan— Thank The Ancestors!

Rich Fury / Getty

After months of delays and waiting, Disney has announced that Mulan fans will no longer have to wait for a major theatrical release to see the live-action version of the animated classic. On Tuesday the Walt Disney Company revealed that the film will no longer seek a major theatrical release and that the blockbuster’s debut will take place on the subscription streaming service, Disney+.

To see the movie, customers will need to pay an additional $29.99 on top of the cost of the monthly subscription for Disney+

“In order to meet the needs of consumers during this unpredictable period, we thought it was important to find alternative ways to bring this exceptional family-friendly film to them in a timely manner,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek explained in a statement according to Variety. “We see this as an opportunity to bring this incredible film to a broad audience currently unable to go to movie theaters.”

The company has said that it plans to release Mulan in theaters in areas where Disney+ is not available to audiences.

According to Variety, “The decision to put Mulan on premium video-on-demand further emphasizes the studio’s increased reliance on Disney Plus at a time when most of their business — from theme parks and cruises to movie theaters and retail stores — have been crippled by the pandemic. Research, Chapek says, suggests that bringing a high-profile release like Mulan to homes “will act as a fairly large stimulus to sign up for Disney Plus.”

Mulan had been originally scheduled for a theatrical debut on March 27 and was meant to be Disney’s biggest theatrical release for the year.

Disney shelled out a $200 million budget and in early March the studio set up a lavish red carpet premiere at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. Days later, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Disney to postpone the movie’s release. The movie’s debut was then pushed back several times before Disney announced last week that they would indefinitely remove it from the release calendar. Fortunately, they’ve changed their mind and Mulan will debut on the streamer’s new platform on September 4, 2020.

Disney’s latest version of Mulan stars actress Yifei Liu as the titular character based on the legend of a female Chinese warrior who disguises herself and takes her father’s place as a soldier.

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Netflix’s ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’ Reboot Is A Millennial Fan Girl’s Dream

Entertainment

Netflix’s ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’ Reboot Is A Millennial Fan Girl’s Dream

Netflix

Get ready, mi gente! The Netflix version of “The Baby-Sitters Club” is about to totally shake up your views on reboots.

That’s right, Netflix has given the beloved series, based on the books of the 80s, a new makeover and it has all of the updates you have been begging for. Slightly edgier and loads more diverse, the new series features the same characters written by Ann M. Martin decades ago. This time however the series comes with twists that make the babysitters’ little fictional town of Stony Brook, Connecticut all the more exciting.

From Kristy and Mary Anne to Claudia, Stacey, and even Dawn the gang’s all here!

Check them out below!

Dawn Schafer

“The Baby-Sitters Club”/ Netflix

Played by Xochitl Gomez (“Gentefied,” “You’re the Worst,” and “Raven’s Home”), Dawn is featured in the new series as Mary Anne’s new Latina friend who recently moved to Stoneybrook from Los Angeles. Dawn is the club’s alternate officer and an eco-conscious Latina who joins in a few episodes into the season. Speaking about her role as a character who had initially been blonde and blue-eyed in the books, Gomez told The Los Angeles Times that “it’s really important that there is representation for girls that look like me. When I was younger, I didn’t see many characters on TV shows that I could see myself in. And it really matters that TV reflects the world.”

Claudia Kishi

“The Baby-Sitters Club”/ Netflix

Momona Tamada plays the series’ beloved character, Claudia. As one of the only characters of color in the OG series, Claudia became a fan favorite for readers due to her many talents, beauty and smarts. In this series, not much has changed. She’s still the style-conscious vice president with a passion for art who loves her Japanese-American roots despite never having learned to speak Japanese.

Stacey McGill

“The Baby-Sitters Club”/ Netflix

Stacey is still the treasurer of club. She comes from the Upper West Side of Manhattan and has quite the thumb for style. In the Netflix series she is played by Shay Rudolph. One of the most exciting changes in this new series is that Stacey (who in the books struggled with hiding her diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes) is open and proud of her disorder. “I knew I had a lot of responsibility playing Stacey,” Rudolph told LA Times in an interview before explaining that she herself interviewed teens with diabetes to prepare for her role. “I asked the people I talked to what it feels like when blood sugar is dropping and what they can and can’t do without an insulin pump. I want it to be empowering to younger kids when they see Stacey is still so loved and accepted by her friends even though she has this thing she is self-conscious about.”

Mary Anne Spier

“The Baby-Sitters Club”/ Netflix

For her role as Mary Anne, Malia Baker does a pretty spot-on job as the shy club secretary of the OG series who is also Kristy’s best friend. “I haven’t read a lot of books about shy girls,” Baker told the LA Times. “I know that’s kind of weird to say, but I connected with Mary Anne the most because deep down I am a shy person. But I also connected with all of the characters in different ways. And that’s one of the great things about ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’; you can connect with at least one of the characters.”

In this new series, Mary Anne’s character eventually proves to be just one example of the show’s effort to push for diversity. In one of her most defining moments in the new series, Mary Anne babysits for and stands up for a young transgender kid when they’re misgendered.

Kristy Thomas

“The Baby-Sitters Club”/ Netflix

And finally, there’s the club’s leader: Kristy. Played by Sophie Grace, Kristy in this series remains the president of the club. In this series, she’s quick to call out social injustices and loves her gals more than ever. “I’m so honored to be a part of a series like this that gives kids someone to relate to,” Sophie Grace explained. “Kristy has her family struggles. Her parents are divorced. That’s really hard for kids, and we see how she’s finding her way through that.”

Check out the show’s trailer below!

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