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.

Carey-Mas: Your Definitive Guide To A Mariah Carey Christmas

Entertainment

Carey-Mas: Your Definitive Guide To A Mariah Carey Christmas

mariahcarey / Instagram

The holidays can be a painful time of year for many people, whether that be because your family is loco, or across borders, or because you’re simply a recovering Catholic. One truth about Christmas that everyone can celebrate without spiritual or family trauma is the universally beloved Queen of Christmas: Mariah Carey. When producers asked Mariah Carey to create her first holiday album, she doubted the had the star power to make any kind of impact on Christmas music. Since the 1994 “Merry Christmas” album release, it’s gone Platinum five times and has sold over 5 million copies in the United States alone. It is arguably the single most impactful holiday album to become immortalized in American Christmas Classics. Just days ago, news broke that her holiday hit, “All I Want For Christmas is You,” would become the subject of a documentary film, 25 years later. That’s the power of Carey-mas. 

So, if your doubts about the upcoming holidays have you down, or you already know that Carey-mas is your access point to holiday cheer, we’ve got you covered. Behold, our vision for the perfect feast day to celebrate the Queen of Christmas.

What’s a Carey-mas without her angelic sound waves reverberating around the room?

CREDIT: “SLIDE VIEW: 1 : MARIAH CAREY – MERRY CHRISTMAS LIMITED LP” / URBAN OUTFITTERS

The Ground Zero of Carey-Mas lies in her cherubic, powerful voice that has carried from 1994 into present-day with her first holiday album, “Merry Christmas.” If you’ve never heard Carey’s voice on vinyl, Urban Outfitters is selling the Limited LP that will get you as close to a live performance of Mariah Carey in your living room as possible. This is a vinyl that you can pass down to your children, and their children, and her voice will carry just as easily into the next 25 years.

Give yourself an outlet to release your newfound holiday cheer with a karaoke machine.

CREDIT: @GAMER_HUNTRESS / TWITTER

Is it really Christmas without some Carey-oke? I said it. Of course, nothing will ever come close to Carey’s unheard of range, but Carey-mas is all about celebrating the spirit of Mariah Carey Christmas. Fact: it’s as physically impossible to put on mascara without opening your mouth as it is to listen to Mariah Carey Christmas music without full-out belting the songs. Spread the Carey cheer with Carey-oke.

Mariah Carey, and you, need mistletoe to wait under.

CREDIT: @LOVEAMYSTERY / TWITTER

So be sure to place that mistletoe right above where that karaoke machine will be so that way when they belt, “I won’t ask for much this Christmas, I won’t even wish for snow, and I just wanna keep on waiting underneath the mistletoe,” their Carey-mas cheer will double. Oh, and don’t hang stockings above the fireplace. Mariah Carey couldn’t bother because all she wanted for Christmas was you, and you can’t fit in a stocking. It’s all in the details, mi gente.

Get one step closer to becoming Mariah Carey with this look-a-like costume.

CREDIT: “SANTA BABY COSTUME – RED/WHITE” / YANDY.COM

It’s a universally known fact that Mariah Carey invented Christmas, but a lesser-known fact is that Carey brought us the comforts of jumpsuits on the cover of her “Merry Christmas” album. Yandy may not know that it’s revived the ’90s Santa Claus jumpsuit Mariah Carey gave us, but, now, you do. 

Whether you’re sending out Carey-mas party invites or your holiday cards, these will do the trick.

CREDIT: “MARIAH CAREY CHRISTMAS GREETING CARD” / TOTALLY GOOD TIME

Some use Christmas as the season to spread their “good news” about their Christ and Savior. This greeting card takes the time to simply put, “Mariah Carey Invented Christmas.” 

Mariah Carey loves to give gifts on Christmas, so make sure yours are wrapped with her generous face all over them.

CREDIT: @MASLO_4 / TWITTER

In 2015, Mariah Carey told Buzzfeed News that her “favorite Christmas gift is to have a relaxed Christmas and to give gifts. I love giving gifts. It’s almost like I don’t open my gifts until, like, three days after Christmas, ’cause I want to give everyone else their presents. Especially now having my own little babies, it’s all about them.”

P.S. It’s not a Carey-mas without inviting all your friends’ dogs over. Mariah Carey loves her doggos, and the best gift bag is one for the pooches. Merry Carey-mas to all creatures and to all a festive night!

READ: Breaking News: The Queen Of Christmas Has Officially Declared It The Holiday Season

Some People Are Saying Lizzo’s Risqué Courtside Outfit Went to Far

Entertainment

Some People Are Saying Lizzo’s Risqué Courtside Outfit Went to Far

Lizzo / Instagram

Lizzo, the conclusive breakout popstar, fashion icon, and body-positivity role model of 2019, has been serving us sexy lewks and fashion ‘fits since she stepped onto the scene. But her latest ensemble has left both fans and casual observers scratching their heads (and their hoo-has) in confusion.

On Sunday, Lizzo attended the LA Lakers versus Minnesota Timberwolves basketball game dressed in a risque outfit. And unlike many of Lizzo’s previous edgy ensembles that have been pretty much universally embraced, this one caused quite the internet uproar. The outfit consisted of a long black t-shirt with a hole cut-out on her backside, exposing her thong-clad bare behind. And to take things even further, when the Laker Girls performed a dance routine to Lizzo’s hit-single “Juice” during half-time Lizzo got up and started to twerk. Her butt was facing the camera and her dance was picked up and broadcast on  the jumbotron and then the TV. In short, she essentially mooned the entirety of America before the camera quickly panned away.

And although Lizzo is known for stepping out in edgy ensembles, this one had many people saying she went too far.

As usual, there were a few haters who used Lizzo’s outfit as an opportunity to publicly body-shame her, but outside of those people, the outfit’s reception was mixed for more complicated reasons. Critics claimed that Lizzo’s ass-less outfit was too provocative for what many view as a family event. 

On this front, there was a consensus that there is a “time and a place” to show of your behind in public (like at a concert for your fans or an older-skewing awards show). Others took exception for what they believed was an issue of cleanliness: “This is a hygiene matter not a size/weight matter,” said one Twitter user. “It’s not okay to have your bare ass out on public seating”.

The social-media discussion has simply snowballed since Sunday. For every person that says Lizzo’s outfit was inappropriate, there is another person claiming that society only views it as inappropriate due to internalized fatphobia. Supporters of Lizzo point to other celebrities like Nicki Minaj and Rihanna who have built their entire careers profiting off their bodies. Others maintain that even these celebs wouldn’t go to a basketball game with their butt cheeks out.

Regardless of where you fall on the issue, it’s safe to say that this conversation wouldn’t be as heated if the celebrity in question was thin and had a conventionally “Hollywood” look.

On Twitter, some people were mad that Lizzo was “getting away” with dressing provocatively because of her body positivity brand. “If Lizzo wasn’t famous she would have definitely been asked to leave,” said one Twitter user. “It was inappropriate for a family setting. Sorry not sorry.” Really, there’s no way for us to know whether there would be this much outrage if a thinner celebrity wore such a provocative outfit to a professional sports game. If there’s one thing Lizzo is, it’s a trailblazer: we haven’t seen anything like this before.

And that’s exactly how Lizzo likes it. As the Grammy-nominated singer has previously said before, she’s made a conscious decision to include sexuality as part of her image. “[Women] weren’t given enough space in the industry to carve out a lane for big girls that are brown and black and want to sing and dance without getting sh*t-talked and body shamed,” she previously told Essence. “I want to be a sex symbol and music goddess and I’m out here trying to make that happen for myself. I’m here for the fantasy but I want to be a part of that fantasy. I’m just as fine as those girls.” Goodness knows she’s making good on that goal.

As for the reaction on Twitter, they ranged the spectrum from positive to downright condemning.

Lookout Drake! Lizzo just took over the award for “most polarizing court-side outfit in NBA history”. 

This person was insistent that Lizzo’s weight has nothing to do with the negative reception.

But of course, people responded to this Tweet with examples of graphic court-side outfits that didn’t spark as much outrage.

This person was convinced that Lizzo’s ass-less outfit was all part of her master plan to dominate music:

The timing does seem a little on-the-nose.

This person believes that there is a double-standard at play when judging Lizzo’s fashion choices

It’s true that provocatively-dressed pop stars are pretty par-for-the-course these days. But you’d be hard-pressed to find Beyonce in an ass-less outfit at a Lakers game.

This person pointed out how unsanitary Lizzo’s outfit seemed:

If anything, this is the most balanced take. No one wants to sit on a seat that had someone’s bare butt on it before them.