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These Adorable Kids Who Resemble ‘Encanto’ Characters Are the Reason Representation Matters

By now many of us have seen the images circulating around social media of kids who resemble characters from Disney’s newest Latino-themed hit “Encanto.” They’ll make your heart explode — and what’s equally moving is adults are sharing their own experiences, also.

The trend took off at the beginning of January when a picture of 2-year-old Kenzo Brooks next to a TV with Antonio from “Encanto” went viral. The picture was originally posted to Instagram with the hashtag #RepresentationMatters. The picture soon led to Kenzo and his family being featured on various TV shows to talk about how important it is that Black and brown kids feel represented on TV. 

“I truly believe that he thought it was him, just his reaction. He just kept staring at the screen and looking back at us and smiling.” Kenzo’s mom Kaheisha Brand told ABC 7 News

While Kenzo’s dad Keith Brook shared with ABC 7, “He was able to see someone that looks like him. I know growing up for me that wasn’t necessarily often something you see.” 

“For me, it did make me feel a little bit emotional to think that my son was able to see this and have this experience. Just for so many other Black and brown boys and girls to be able to have that same experience now, I think that was amazing,” Brooks added.

The fame even got the attention of Disney, who is behind the production of “Encanto,” leading them to offer his family a weekend trip to Walt Disney World in Florida and tickets to see the New York Knicks who brought Kenzo on to the court. 

But Kenzo isn’t the only one that has seen himself in “Encanto.” This week a video of Manu Araújo Marquesa, a 2-year-old girl in Brazil, went viral after she saw herself in the character Mirabel. Telling her mom in Portuguese, “That’s me! That’s me grown up!” 

Manu’s mom even told Buzzfeed News that the fact that Mirabel wears glasses made her feel even more represented. “My biggest fear when I learned that Manu would wear glasses would be bullying at school! But over the course of the movie, I completely changed my mind and saw that princesses wear glasses too,” she said.

Both Kenzo’s story and the video of Manu has been shared all over the internet. In one tweet Latina animator, Magdiela Duhamel said, “This is why we do what we do.”  

These stories have also led both kids and adults to take to Twitter to talk about why representation matters.

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Judging by the response that “Encanto” has received from communities of color, we’re hoping future Disney movies will continue to reflect the diversity of the world’s population.

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