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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13 Spooky Movies To Watch That Are Guaranteed To Make Your Skin Crawl

Entertainment

13 Spooky Movies To Watch That Are Guaranteed To Make Your Skin Crawl

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With Halloween fast approaching, we’re getting ready to cue up those scary movies for the best quarantine fright- fest yet. Horror movies are the one thing that seals the deal on making spooky season official. Time to butter up that popcorn, sip on that chocolatito, and snuggle up in front of the TV.

So, are you looking to kick back to some great horror films but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered with a list of our top 13 scary movies just in time for spooky season. These films range from classic horror to psychological thrillers. This list is the perfect way to get you into the spirit. Are you ready for the best scare yet?

The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

Let’s start off with a Guillermo Del Torro classic. After 10-year-old Carlos becomes orphaned after the death of his father, he soon discovers the secrets of the haunted school that shelters him. Set during the Spanish Civil War and filled with ghosts, defused bombs, and a whole lot of mystery, this movie is one that will definitely keep heads turning.

Carrie (1976)

Carrie White seems to think the world is against her and I mean: she’s not wrong. Who wouldn’t get upset and lash out with their mother and peers constantly antagonizing her? Little do we know, Carrie reveals her telekinetic powers that eventually leads to some problematic outcomes as she starts to seek out intense revenge on those who’ve wronged her.

Poltergeist (1982)

A classic tale of ghosts and exorcisms all combined in one. When the California-based Freelings’s family encounters that ghosts are communing in their television set, they are seemingly terrified. The parents have no choice but to hire an exorcist to help as soon as they discover their 5-year-old daughter is now missing. But the question is: will this help or hurt them?  

Mama (2012)

When two twin sisters mysteriously vanish on the same day of their parent’s death, their uncle and his girlfriend go on a thrilling search for their bodies. The twins are found in a decaying cabin in the woods after searching. This is when it becomes clear that their escape will not be as easy as it seems. A short by Argentinian director Andrés Muschietti, it’s no wonder why the film won the ASCAP award for the best Top Box Office Films. 

BirdBox (2018)

A mysterious force has wiped out humanity and everyone knows that if you see this thing you die. Everyone is now strategizing the best way to overcome this and stay safe. One woman desperately tries everything in her power to keep her children safe and away from sight. The best and safest way to seek this shelter ultimately results in them figuring it out blindfolded. This Netflix original sent chills down my spine, and I promise as soon as you watch it, you’ll get them too. 

Us (2019)

The protagonist Adelaide revisits her childhood town with her family and has a gutted feeling that the past may now take over the present. The movie recount a terrifying incident of her childhood when she was traumatized in a carnival fun house. The family soon encounters four strangers who look exactly like each one of them. This Jordan Peele creation leaves viewers the opportunity to piece together the puzzle pieces slowly but surely, and journeys you through a horrifying storyline that will leave you glued to your television screen. 

A Quiet Place (2018)

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Actions speak louder than words,” right? Well in this thriller it’s certainly the truth. A horror film that essentially has only a few pages of real dialogue, the premise is that if “they” hear you, “they” find you. The family of four must be the quietest they’ve ever been so that a breath or even a footstep won’t reveal their presence. You’ll be jumping out of your seat so maybe don’t watch this alone in the dark.

Vampires vs The Bronx (2020)

Sometimes the best films are the ones that scare you but also make you laugh. This coming-of-age horror comedy recently made its Netflix debut earlier this month and fans are non-stop raving about it. It follows a group of teens from the Bronx who are forced to save their neighborhood from an incoming vampire invasion. The concept incorporates prevalent societal issues with a lighthearted twist and is a perfect treat for all audiences to enjoy.

Hereditary (2018)

A family in mourning finds ways to cope with the loss of a loved one while experiencing supernatural phenomena. The encounters with the supernatural begin to grow more and more disturbing. The family is left with these moments linking to a grand unveiling of family history and secrets. It’s so haunting that this movie will stay with you forever.

Veronica (2017)

“Veronica” tells the tale of a girl and her friends summoning the spirit of her dead father during a solar eclipse using a Ouija board. However, there are more undesirable spirits that have come through. She’s quickly surrounded by evil spirits and presences that are now known to pose a threat to her family. Sandra Escacena was nominated for the Goya Award for Best New Actress in 2018 for her work.

The Cabin In The Woods (2011)

Basically, a college cabin vacation gone wrong. A camping trip with five friends takes a turn when they are attacked by a family of zombies. The camping trip turns into a fight for their lives as the zombies are part of a ritualistic sacrifice. A Rotten Tomatoes reviewer even said “Would you like your head thoroughly messed with? Then check straight into ‘The Cabin in the The Woods.’” So that sums that up pretty nicely.

The Witches (2020)

Witches in the U.K. are plotting to rid the island of children by turning them into mice. Fortunately for all of the children, one young boy and his grandmother catch wind of the plan. The movie is all about the boy and his grandmother working together to make sure the witches fail in their dastardly plans.

READ: 17 Perfectly Creepy Horror Movies By Latinos To Watch Before You Die

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It’s Finally Justina Machado’s Time to Shine

Entertainment

It’s Finally Justina Machado’s Time to Shine

Photo: Getty Images

On Monday, beloved (and not to mention, underrated) actress Justina Machado sat down for a wide-ranging interview with the Los Angeles Times.

In it, Machado covers everything from her lengthy career, to the sad state of Latinx representation in Hollywood, to the offensive phone call she had with a tone-deaf TV exec in the ’90s.

Finally, after almost 25 years of hard work in Hollywood, Machado is dominating America’s Monday nights with two high-profile gigs: a spot on “Dancing With the Stars” and the return of “One Day At a Time” to CBS after it was unceremoniously dropped by Netflix.

Naturally, with so much on her plate, the Puerto Rican actress in not only mentally, but physically exhausted. After all, “Dancing With the Stars” is notorious for its grueling practice and shoot schedules. “Every day when I come home, my routine is dunking my feet in [an ice bath],” she told the LA Times. “The first week and a half of rehearsals, forget about it–I was crying.”

But Machado is glad that she took the DWTS opportunity for what it means in terms of Latinx representation on network television.

“The thing about ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is it reaches so many more homes than [‘One Day at a Time’]…,” she told the publication. “I know they’ve had Latinas on the show, but they need a whole lot more. And so I was like, ‘I’m going to do that. I’m going to be that Puerto Rican woman that’s on that show.’”

Throughout the interview, Machado gets candid about what it’s like to be a Latina in the American entertainment industry–which is an unforgiving business.

She described the beginning of her career as plagued by insecurity. Before she began a professional acting career, Machado was convinced she couldn’t make it as an actor because professional acting “wasn’t a part of [her] world.” “Nobody was an actor in Chicago that I knew, in my neighborhood, in the inner city of Chicago,” she explained.

After she finally established her footing in Hollywood, she was then met with further doors slammed in her face in the form of racism and anti-Latino sentiment.

Like when an executive called her to tell her why her TV show wasn’t moving forward, back in the ’90s.

“He literally called my house, nice man… and said, ‘My God, your pilot is so great. Everybody loves you, everybody. But we don’t think America is ready for a Latino family.’”

What’s depressing about this story is that Latino representation onscreen still hasn’t gotten much better over 20 years later. But Machado is hopeful that the tides of change are turning

“That was acceptable for him to say…Like, what? And that was the ’90s! And look at today. How many Latino families do you see on television? So America better get ready because we’re here. We’re here.” We know that if Machado has anything to do with the future of TV, we’ll be seeing Latino families more and more often.

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