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.

Here Are The Grammy’s Best And Most Boring Fashion Moments

Fierce

Here Are The Grammy’s Best And Most Boring Fashion Moments

Last night was “Music’s Biggest Night!” —aka. the Grammys. All the pop stars came out to perform and take home awards for the music we’ve been listening on repeat over the last year. And while this night isn’t quite as elegant and frothy as the Oscars, Grammy attendees still serve fancy, theatrical and tbh, kind of whacky fashion. The award ceremony allows for an “Anything Goes” policy when it comes to dressing up —so we rounded up the most exciting, and most yawn-inducing fashion moments of the night.  

Best: Billy Porter’s shady fringe

Porter, who hands down won the award for just the most, served us a whole moment on the red carpet when the rhinestones that hung from his hat started to open up, revealing the actor’s face.“Get on my nerves, and the curtain closes!” Billy Porter explained of the motorized fringe curtain lining his glitter-encrusted wide-brimmed hat. Turns out the look was a moment of appreciation for the other Billie [Eilish]. He once told his stylist Sammy Ratelle that he loved Eilish’s face nets. So here it is; face nets, but make it Billy Porter. 

Best: Demi Lovato

Among the many performances at the Grammys last night, perhaps one of the most anticipated was that of Demi Lovato. After a year and a half since her overdose, Demi returned to the stage singing a new song that brought the audience to tears—and to their feet for a standing ovation. The singer stood onstage in a white gown that featured a studded corset belt and puffy floor-length skirt. The look was simple, angelic and simply perfect. The Christian Siriano gown was a perfect way to highlight Demi’s return to the stage. 

Best: Alicia Keys’ shimmering armor

Alicia Keys started the night by paying respect to the late NBA star, Kobe Bryant, who sadly passed away yesterday during a helicopter crash. “To be honest with you, we’re all feeling crazy sadness right now,” said the host for the night. “We’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.” Boyz II Men joined Keys on stage to sing “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday”. Standing in the middle of the trio, Keys looked statuesque in a shimmering Atelier Versace gown that accentuated her figure. 

Best: Lizzo’s Old Hollywood style

Lizzo’s look for the Grammys last night was glam and fabulous like the performer herself. The  Old Hollywood silhouette of her Atelier Versace gown was brought back straight to modern day with glittery embellishments, extra AF nails and an actual fur stole. No tiny handbag on sight this time but I mean… the Jessica Rabbit realness was next level. 

Best: Cardi B serving #bodyconfidence

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Cardi had us all fooled thinking she wouldn’t be attending the award show after she was nowhere to be seen during the red carpet. But thankfully, our Latina queen showed up and showed out in a dreamy see-through Mugler look. The nude, sheer gown with floor-length sleeves had crystal detailing covering the singer’s entire body in glimmering stripes. Cardi was not up for any Grammy nominations this year but took home the award for Best Rap Album at last year’s ceremony

Worst: Camila Cabello

Camila walked the red carpet, sans boyfriend Shawn Mendes, in a strapless black gown. Decked out in Versace she looked beautiful but we missed her bf.

Worst of the Worst: Joy Villa

“If I’m not known for my music, I might as well be known for my ridiculous fashion choices” —Joy Villa, probably, every time she decides what to wear to a red carpet. The Pro-Trump singer has taken it upon herself to flaunt her pro-conservative politics at the annual music event —we’ll say it again for the people in the back: Annual. Music. Event. The red, white and blue ensemble however, showed off Villa’s belief that Donald Trump should be voted back into office featuring the words “Impeached & Re-elected.” After using the Grammys as a political stunt for the past six years, we’re left wondering if she’ll ever make music as memorable as her statement dressing. 

Worst: Gwen Stefani’s weird performance and dress

So during Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton’s performance of “Nobody But You,” both singers were off-key and awkward —but that’tsnot even all of it. Stefani inexplicably wore a Dolce & Gabbana dress that felt vaguely culturally appropriative with its iconography and headdress (this wouldn’t be the first time for her). Idk about you, but I think, maybe they should just stick to flirting on The Voice and releasing holiday singles.

Broadway’s ‘Frozen’ Is Getting A New Elsa And Ciara Renée Will Be Playing The Beloved Character

Entertainment

Broadway’s ‘Frozen’ Is Getting A New Elsa And Ciara Renée Will Be Playing The Beloved Character

ciararenee8 / Instagram

What do Idina Menzel, Caissie Levy, and Caroline Bowman have in common? They’re all Broadway actresses that have portrayed Elsa from “Frozen.” They also happen to be all white. Well, that’s all about to change!

Afro-Latina actress Ciara Renée will be playing the role of Elsa in “Frozen” on Broadway.

Credit: ciararenee8 / Instagram

Frozen made its Broadway debut in 2018 and was played by Caissie Levy. Idina Menzel was the voice of Elsa in the animated film. Now, an Afro-Latina has scored the coveted role. 

Renée will be playing Elsa, and McKenzie Kurtz will be making her Broadway debut as Anna. Renée and McKenzie will take over the roles. Caissie Levy and Patti Murin end their run as Elsa and Anna respectively on Feb. 16. Renée was previously in the Broadway show “Big Fish” as the Witch as well as “Pippin.”

“Here it is! It’s official! I’m joining the cast of @frozenbroadway as Elsa alongside this bright new star, @mckenziekurtz! And I am incredibly grateful! This is an opportunity to expand minds, open hearts, and empower folks with the power of LOVE! I can’t wait to get started!”

While we’re still getting to know the 29-year-old, we are learning so much about this extraordinary actress who is pretty amazing at showing her biggest supporters lots of love in return.

Credit: ciararenee8 / Instagram

Renée, who is half Black and half Puerto Rican, thanked her friends, family, and supporters by giving them exact instructions on what to do when they come to see her show on Broadway. 

“I just want to extend my heartfelt gratitude for all the support and love I received yesterday. It was honestly overwhelming. Thank you, thank you,” Renée said in a video on her Insta-story. “I am so thrilled to be playing Elsa.” 

“But I wanted to set down some ground rules about people coming to see the show,” she said. “I am always so grateful when people come to see the show, people I know, people I don’t. But it isn’t my favorite thing to know when you’re coming. So, if you’re someone I know well, and we have each other’s phone number and you live in New York City, please do not tell me when you’re coming. Please come and text me at intermission or at the end of the show, which is preferred, and I will make sure to put your name on the list. I will check it right after the show.”

She also gave instructions to those she doesn’t know all that well. “If we don’t know each other well or talk super often or you’re from out of town, please do let me know when you’re coming because I want to make sure that I get to see you. For everybody else, I will 100 percent do my very best to Stage Door [where actors meet fans after the show as they exit the theater] as much as humanly possible. I know people come from all over the world to see Broadway and I want to be there as much as I can. If I am not there, please know it’s for a reason. I may not be feeling well, or something is pulling me away, I don’t know what it is, but I will always do my best to Stage Door because I love meeting you all and I am so honored that you would come to see our shows.”

We just love how precise and in control she is about meeting friends and fans. That kind of gratitude will definitely take her far in Broadway and Hollywood. 

Aside from her work on the stage, Renée has also appeared in several television shows.

Credit: ciararenee8 / Instagram

The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania native and 2013 graduate of Baldwin Wallace University has appeared in Facebook Watch’s series “Strangers,” Netflix’s “Master of None,” CBS’s “Big Bang Theory,” and on the CW’s superhero series “Legends of Tomorrow,” “Arrow,” and “Flash.”

If you haven’t heard Renée’s stellar voice, here’s a clip of the actress singing Demi Lovato’s “Stone Cold.”

Congrats on this new role, Ciara! We can’t wait to see her show on Broadway! Will you be going?

READ: The New Cinderella Remake Tapped Camila Cabello To Play The Princess And Billy Porter To Be The Fabulous Godmother