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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An Abuelo Got A Hurtful Note From Bad Neighbors About His Decorations And Latino Twitter Came Into Comfort Him

Things That Matter

An Abuelo Got A Hurtful Note From Bad Neighbors About His Decorations And Latino Twitter Came Into Comfort Him

@goldenstef / Twitter

We are rarely more defensive than we are for our abuelos. The viejitos have always been there for us and seeing them treated unkindly is just heartbreaking. That is what one Twitter user experienced after her abuelo got a wretched note about his decorations outside his home.

This is the horrid letter left for @goldenstef’s abuelo by undesirable neighbors.

The letter, which is filled with misspelled words, calls the abuelo’s house an example of a “low class Mexican family.” The letter was written anonymously by neighbors and delivered to the abuelo in an attempt to shame him into changing his decorations. One of the most bizarre moments in the letter is when the angry author criticized the homeowner for having too many American flags claiming he isn’t patriotic and can’t fool the neighbors. Like, which one is it people?

The Twitter user followed up with photos of the house to show the decorations their abuelo has out front.

People flooded the Twitter post with comments supporting and sending love to the abuelo. Fellow Latinos are ready to stand with the abuelo and some just want the names of the people behind the letter so they can talk to them. Some people are stunned at how far the author was willing to go out of their way to be mean to an old man who just wants to decorate his home and front yard.

Latino Twitter wants to come together to let the abuelo know that his decorations are adorbs.

We need to come together to give her abuelo all of the wonderful decoration we love. Let’s turn his house and front yard into a showcase of all of the greatness that Latin America has to offer.

People are falling in love with this viejitos yard.

Honestly, this is a great yard. Who wouldn’t want a yard like this? This yard is original and adorable and worth all of the praise that we can muster. Thank you to people like this for making their yards something unique and worth seeing.

@goldenstef wants everyone to know just how much they appreciate the sweet messages about their abuelo’s yard.

It costs nothing to be kind. It is even better when you can be kind about something someone clearly cares so much about. Who cares if someone decorates their lawn a little too much. At least they are having fun with their lives and that is something we all need more of right now.

READ: Latinas Are Sharing Their Most Treasured Memories Of Their Abuelos And It’s Exactly What We Needed This Month

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Lil Nas X’s Next Big Drop Is A Children’s Book Called ‘C Is For Country’

Entertainment

Lil Nas X’s Next Big Drop Is A Children’s Book Called ‘C Is For Country’

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty

Turns out Lil Nas X has more than just country rap up his sleeve. The 21-year-old “Old Town Road” rapper has a penchant for literature too.

On Tuesday, the rapper revealed that he’s written a children’s book called C Is for Country.

“I’m dropping the best kids’ book of all time soon!” the rapper shared in a Tweet earlier this week before adding that he couldn’t “wait to share it” with his fans and young readers.

Nas’s children’s book is being published under Random House Kids, a division of Penguin Random House. It is currently available for preorder on their site.

According to the Random House Kids’ website, the book is a story about Lil Nas X and Panini the pony.

“Join superstar Lil Nas X—who boasts the longest-running #1 song in history—and Panini the pony on a joyous journey through the alphabet from sunup to sundown. Experience wide-open pastures, farm animals, guitar music, cowboy hats, and all things country in this debut picture book that’s perfect for music lovers learning their ABCs and for anyone who loves Nas’s signature genre-blending style,” Random House describes in its explanation.

The book is illustrated by Theodore Taylor III and promises “plenty of hidden surprises for Nas’ biggest fans.”

C Is for County comes out Jan. 5.

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