Latinas Are Getting Nostalgic on Twitter After Seeing that Disney+ is Streaming ‘Gotta Kick it Up’
It is possible that Disney has, yet again, out-done itself. On Tuesday, Disney finally launched its much-anticipated streaming service Disney+, the subscription-based platform that is set to release over 600 titles to their customers for $6.99 a month. The buzz around this service has long been building, with people expressing their excitement at the release of their long-forgotten childhood favorites since Disney+’s Twitter account tweeted out all of the titles that would become available on its launch.
For nostalgic millennials who grew up watching Disney Channel Original Movies, the premiere of this service has been nothing short of life-changing. People are taking to their social media feeds to express their excitement over forgotten favorites like “Smart House”, “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century”, and “Don’t Look Under the Bed”. But the movie that Latinas are most excited about re-watching? “Gotta Kick It Up”.
For those of you who need a refresher, “Gotta Kick it Up” was a 2002 Disney Channel original movie that starred America Ferrera.
The movie follows a group of middle school girls who are trying to form a dance team in Los Angeles in the face of budget cuts. Scrambling for a coach, the girls turn to their biology teacher, Ms. Bartlett, to whip them into shape. Like any underdog tale, the aspiring dance team starts off as a mess, but with a lot of hard work, the girls soon start to believe in themselves. Through the course of the movie, the girls learn how to put their differences aside and work together to eventually qualify for nationals.
The Disney Channel movie was notable for not only having a primarily Latinx cast (which is a rarity even today), but for featuring baby-faced versions of successful Latina actresses like America Ferrera and Camille Guaty. Not only that, but the movie’s climax featured a rad dance scene that little girls everywhere tried to imitate in their living rooms (seriously–look it up).
“Gotta Kick It Up” was groundbreaking for its depiction of Latinx life that wasn’t centered on harmful stereotypes or cliche stories.
The movie was written by Meghan Cole, and was based on her experience as a Teach for America teacher at Nimitz Middle School in Huntington Park, Los Angeles. The decision to make these Latina students normal teens was a deliberate choice, according to Cole. “I wanted to have a Latino movie, with Latino kids doing great things,” she told The New York Times. “Not being stereotypical kids creating havoc”. Cole also expressed her desire for the movie to “portray positive teenage Latino role models and stress the importance of after-school programs”.
But arguably “Gotta Kick It Up”‘s greatest legacy was teaching a legion of youngsters the phrase “Sí, se puede!” as well as the history behind it. At one point during the movie, the girls are doubting themselves and their chances of winning the upcoming dance competition. In response, Daisy, the movie’s protagonist, tells the girls a brief history of her grandmother’s involvement in the Chicano movement and tells them about how Cesar Chavez’s rallying cry “Sí, se puede!” served to strengthen and unify the Mexican-American community. Throughout the movie, the girls repeat the phrase whenever they’re happy, doubtful, or scared.
Of course, Latinas on Twitter are not hesitating to shout from the rooftops the the return of “Gotta Kick It Up” to our TV screens.
It’s always exciting to be reminded of something that was so integral to your childhood that you may have forgotten about. The fact that Latinas can watch this movie again, as well as share it with a younger generation, is worth celebrating.
This Latina gave the entire Twitterverse a very informative PSA about Disney+’s movie catalog:
Not all heroes wear capes.
This person had very specific requirements for the conditions under which they’d pull out their wallet for yet ANOTHER streaming service:
Honestly, the service could cost $50 a month and we would shell out the money for a chance to be able to watch this cinematic masterpiece on repeat.
This person knows that his money is being spent on only the most important things in life:
Sometimes, you’ve got to be honest with yourself and decide what your priorities are in life. And sometimes, those priorities are binge-watching Disney Channel Original Movies all day.
This Latina became emotional about the impact that “Gotta Kick It Up” had on her when she was younger:
Yet somehow, it’s frustrating to know that not that much project has been made for Latinx representation in the media almost 15 years later.