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I Wish…

A friend of mine who is a professor keeps marveling at why I get so upset over Walt Disney perpetuating white supremacy. “Its Disney, of course it is going to be racist. What do you expect?”

I expect more. Especially from a company that claims to, “work toward an inclusive environment that fosters creativity, innovation and camaraderie across all of our companies.”

Disney and Diversity

These are the pictures Disney has on their page regarding diversity:

Asian disney

All people of color pictured in their commitment to diversity.

Here is the entire Principal cast of Into The Woods…

Into the woods-1

Into the woods Daniel

Into the woods Tammy Blanchard

Into the woods tracy

Into the woods Lila

Into the woods Billy Magnussen

Into the woods-9 James Corden

Into the woods 3- anna kendrick

Into the woods 4- chris pine

Into the woods 5- meryl streep

Into the woods 6- lucy punch

Into the woods 7-  christine baranski

Into the woods -8 Mackenzie Mauzy

Into the woods Daniel

SMDH… A critic asked me on Twitter who I would cast. To me this suggests a line of thinking that posits there obviously weren’t any artists of color who were up to snuff for the gig. This is clearly offensive and plain ridiculous. Phylicia Rashad and Vanessa Williams played The Witch, (Meryl Streep in this movie adaptation) on Broadway. Then of course I can rattle off many artists of color who are television and Broadway stars who fit the bill:
Audra McDonald, Taye Diggs, Anika Noni Rose, Dana Owens, Jennifer Hudson, Patina Miller, James Monroe Iglehart, Jesse L Martin, Brenda Braxton, Valerie Pettiford, Obba Babatunde- you get my drift.

The images we see as children form foundations. They plant seeds. Visibility for artists of color is important. If we aren’t there, kids learn to think we shouldn’t be there. We shouldn’t exist in their space because they never saw us. This hurts white and black children. The corrosive power of white supremacy spreads like wildfire at a young age, and it starts with Disney musicals where worlds are created that we don’t exist in, and leads to self hatred. When black kids don’t see themselves as protagonists in media they develop a bias toward whiteness.
White Bias in Black Kids

Is it any wonder Disney raised a woman of color like Raven Symone, who runs from her blackness and sexuality in order to conform and melt into being, “American?”

Shame on you Disney, shame. I wish Disney cared, but with Frozen (another all white adventure, complete with Gospel singing creatures) making more money than God, and Into the Woods likely to be a hit- Disney will have made enough money to justify their non diversity and non inclusion tactics.

I love the music of Sondheim. I know every lyric to Into the Woods. However I refuse to financially support whitesupremacy via ticket sales. Actors of color deserve a seat at the table. Casting an all white ensemble for Into the Woods in 2014 is a definite choice. It is out of touch and a sad commentary on race relations, theatre, film today and its future. IMG_0559.JPG

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13 comments on “I Wish…

  1. Tony Weaver
    November 7, 2014

    WF, Lots of good points here. I don’t have the words to express, nor the knowledge, but thank you for putting disney under fire. A large company of that fashion should have no buisness casting a large produciton without considering broadway stars of color ie Vanessa Williams, Jesse L Martin, Audra, Jennifer Hudson. I would much rather see either one of them than Meryl or Johnny portray tnhe characters are cast. Also who are these no name kids? Plenty of roles for everyone, but no consideration. For shame.

  2. notmarch
    November 7, 2014

    It’s the first thing I uttered when I saw the cast list. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

    • Al in SoCal
      November 22, 2014

      How can it not make sense – it makes PERFECT sense as it aligns with 99% of the OTHER movies out there. Racism is ingrained in Hollywood movies and nothing will change unless there are is a more diverse set of folks at the TOP of the food chain there – or we all wise up somehow.

  3. Al in SoCal
    November 22, 2014

    It’s ALWAYS like this and it’s TIRED TIRED TIRED!!!!! I live and work in Los Angeles – on my team at work, we have exactly ONE white person out of 10. I’m just so sick of these casting choices that represent Vermont or New Hampshire and even then the rural areas – I mean really, it’s outrageous.

    • thekynegro29
      November 22, 2014

      I look at the new Annie as a shining example of how everyone has a seat at the table in that cast. Inclusion and diversity only increases creativity.

  4. Al in SoCal
    November 23, 2014

    Also – just got done watching 3rd movie in Hunger Games series. Female lead, pretty diverse cast – Hollywood: Take notes!

  5. leroi
    November 25, 2014

    Perhaps the , dare i say it……WHITE actors are more talented???? Oh, no!!! Couldn’t be!!!!! White evil men committing racism every minute, of every day!!!!!!!!!!!! GOD! How I wish my ancestors had picked their own cotton!!!!!!!!

    • thekynegro29
      November 25, 2014

      AHAHAHAHAHAHAH! You reveal yourself more with every word. Keep up my friend. Your words are like the tantrums of a child. Ignorant and useless, but fun to watch.

    • Rob
      December 5, 2014

      Yes. White evil men commit racism every minute of every day. Now you’re getting it.

  6. Rob
    December 5, 2014

    I was in the very first high school cast of Into the Woods. So this show is very special to me. And I’m not going to see it for these very reasons. I’m going to go see Annie instead.

  7. Georgette Kleier Hottois
    December 26, 2014

    Thank you for a thoughtful conversation. Thanks for making me think about how I spend my time and money. I will see ITW because I’ve been emotionally connected to it since I saw the original Bway cast and subsequent casts while livening in NYC in the late 80’s. It carries personal meaning for me beyond the beauty of the music and lyrics; however, I will come to the experience with an open heart which asks the question of why, why do we not reflect the world in our art?

    • thekynegro29
      December 26, 2014

      Opening dialouge and asking people to think about real inclusion and diversity is my hearts wish. The choice to not include people of color in this “universal” story of love and loss is what hurts and angers me. I too love the material and was delighted when i heard a film was being planned. Imagine the heartbreak when I found out that Disney and Rob Marshall decided to segregate and close the circle of this story. How sad. Thank you for reading Georgette. Phylicia Rashad replaced Bernadette as the witch in the OBC decades ago. Too bad Disney in 2014 is behind Broadway in 1989…

  8. Pingback: Annie | Thekynegro29's Blog

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This entry was posted on November 7, 2014 by in current events, Uncategorized and tagged , , .
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