Entertainment

Why Disney’s CEO Says That Disney’s Forgotten Movie “Song of the South” Wouldn’t “Sit Right” With Disney+ Viewers

When you think of “Disney”, chances are, your mind doesn’t automatically wander to a racist movie of yore that that has been buried due to an extensive campaign of damage control. 

But believe it or not, the House of Mouse is guilty of just that. We all know by now that on November 12th, Disney launched its much-anticipated streaming service Disney+, making a library of over 7,000 television episodes and 500 films available to its subscribers. 

And while some customers were excited about re-watching old classics like “Smart House” and “The Cheetah Girls”, others were busy frantically searching the archives for a title that is old, but not forgotten: “Song of the South”. 

Released in 1946, “Song of the South” was originally green-lit with the goal of capitalizing on the popularity of post-Civil War blockbusters like 1939’s “Gone With the Wind”. 

Song of the South is possibly the most problematic movie Disney has ever produced.

“Song of the South” revolves around the character of Johnny, a seven-year-old boy living in the Reconstruction-era South (the 1860s and 1870s). While visiting his grandmother’s plantation during a moment of familial strife, Johnny befriends a former slave named Uncle Remus who now works on the plantation. 

Seeing Johnny’s obvious unhappiness, Uncle Remus tries to cheer Johnny up by recounting fables starring Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox, and Br’er Bear–anthropomorphic animals that learn the lessons of life the hard way. Through Uncle Remus, Johnny learns how to deal with the difficulties of life from a more mature perspective. 

And while on its surface, the movie seems to be a straight-forward coming-of-age story combined with subtle messages of racial harmony, the thrust of the film is much more insidious than that.

The relationship between Uncle Remus and his white employers is a problematic picture of a subservient, docile old black man who is happy to live and work on the plantation in which he was formerly enslaved. 

Before singing the legendary ear-worm “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”, Remus waxes nostalgic about the unnamed good ol’ days when “every day was mighty satisfactual”. He then adds: “If you’ll excuse me for saying so, ’twas better all around”. It doesn’t take a genius to deduce that the moment in history Uncle Remus is referring to is when slavery was still a part of the American way of life.

Uncle Remus’s short soliloquy before the movie’s big number acts as sort of a thesis statement for the movie. As Scott Tobias from The Guardian astutely observed, the film suggest that “things are better for everyone” when black people “accept their subservience and benefit from the largesse of white plantation owners, even when they’re ostensibly free to leave at any time.” 

Or, in other words, according to Tobias: “The rotten heart of Song of the South is the implication that such carefree days were easier to come by in the idealized world of the pre-civil war south”.

Disney Studios, aware of how controversial the film is, has made it publicly known that they do not plan on making “Song of the South” available for streaming on Disney+ now, or ever.

Back in 2011, when faced with the question of whether Disney would consider re-releasing “Song of the South”, Disney CEO Bob Iger made his position very clear, saying that the movie “wouldn’t necessarily sit right or feel right to a number of people today”. 

“Even though we’ve considered from time to time bringing [Song of the South] back, I didn’t think it was the right thing for the company to do,” he said. “[We] just felt that it wouldn’t be in the best interest of our shareholders to bring it back, even though there would be some financial gain. Sometimes you make sacrifices on the financial side to do what you believe is right and that’s an example of that”.

But some people are wondering if Song of the South’s omission on the streaming platform is just a way for the media conglomerate to avoid taking responsibility for its past sins. 

Obviously, Twitter users have pretty strong opinions about Disney’s handling of the “Song of the South” controversy.

It’s surprising how starkly opinions differ on whether “Song of the South” should be available to the public.

Some people were happy that Disney decided to omit the title from their library:

Some people believe that the release of the movie would do more harm than good.

Others believe that Disney is shirking responsibility for leaving the movie off of Disney+.

 There is the argument that Disney is trying to re-write their past by hiding the movie.

Of course, others can’t help but make jokes about the entire debacle:

At this point, we wouldn’t put it past Disney to do just this in order to make an extra buck.

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Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Says People Always Assumed He Was a Girl Growing Up Because He Had ‘Soft Features’

Entertainment

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Says People Always Assumed He Was a Girl Growing Up Because He Had ‘Soft Features’

Dwayne Johnson, agreeably one of the most “masculine” presenting people in the world, recently revealed that people weren’t always so quick to assume he was so. In an interview on “Sunday Today with Willie Geist,” that took place earlier this week the American actor and former professional wrestler revealed that when he was a child, people often assumed he was a girl. 

Speaking about his experience with presumed gender identity, The Rock revealed that people often thought he was girl because of his “soft features.”

“I would say between the ages of 7 and 11, people thought that I was a little girl because I had really soft features and I had really soft Afro hair,” he explained in his interview with Willie Geist.

The actor even went so far as to share a time in his life as a fifth-grader who was riding on a school bus.

“I sit down next to a kid, and within 60 seconds, he goes, ‘Can I ask you something?'” The Rock recalled. “I said, ‘Yeah.’ He goes, ‘Are you a boy or a girl?'”

Drawing on this time in his life, Johnson revealed that likely this also chalks up to his frequent moves as a child.

During his childhood, Johnson’s father Rocky Johnson was a professional wrestler who often moved his family around. According to John, he attended thirteen different schools by the time he was in high school.

“I have had a Forrest Gump-ian childhood growing up,” Johnson explained in his interview. “Wrestling in the ’80s and in the ’70s was way different than it is today. A lot of the times, including my father, the wrestlers would live paycheck to paycheck.”

The former wrestler reflection on earlier days coincides with the recent premiere of the hit NBC sitcom “Young Rock” a new series based on his life.

Fans of Johnson will be glad to know that he also stars in the series.

He is also portrayed by three different actors Adrian Groulx, Bradley Constant and Uli Latukefu.

“Growing up, and you know we specifically went with these timelines in my life that were very defining times at 10 years old, 15 and 18 … there’s a lot of things in between those years that took place … but it was complicated and the relationship that I had with my dad was incredibly complicated — that was fueled by tough love,” he explained during NBC’s TCA press tour in an interview about the series.

He went onto share that his father “was kicked out of his house at 13 and he was homeless, so that then shaped the man who then raised me… And in that complication came an extraordinary life that was full of travel. I lived in 13 different states by the time I was 13 years old, also lived in New Zealand.”

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America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

Entertainment

America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

It has been 20 years since America Ferrera’s dream of becoming an actor back true. She took to Instagram to reflect on the moment that her dream started to come true and it is a sweet reminder that anyone can chase their dreams.

America Ferrera shared a sweet post reflecting on the 20th anniversary of working on “Gotta Kick It Up!”

“Gotta Kick It Up!” was one of the earliest examples of Latino representation so many of us remember. The movie follows a school dance team trying to be the very best they could possibly be. The team was down on their luck but a new teacher introduces them to a different kind of music to get them going again.

After being introduced to Latin beats, the dance team is renewed. It taps into a cultural moment for the Latinas on the team and the authenticity of the music makes their performances some of the best.

While the movie meant so much to Latino children seeing their culture represented for the first time, the work was a major moment for Ferrera. In the Instagram post, she gushes over the celebrities she saw on the lot she was working on. Of course, anyone would be excited to see Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt hanging out. Yet, what stands out the most is Ferrera’s own excitement to realize that she can make money doing what she loves most.

“I wish I could go back and tell this little baby America that the next 20 years of her life will be filled with unbelievable opportunity to express her talent and plenty of challenges that will allow her to grow into a person, actress, producer, director, activist that she is very proud and grateful to be. We did it baby girl. I’m proud of us,” Ferrera reflects.

Watch the trailer for “Gotta Kick It Up!” here.

READ: America Ferrera’s “Superstore” Is Going To Get A Spanish-Language Adaptation In A Win For Inclusion

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