Black Disney?

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I don’t really watch the Disney Channel anymore, but when I do, I can’t help but notice how few Black actors and actresses there are on Disney. It seems like 10-20 years ago, there were more people of color on TV than there are now. I remember watching The Famous Jett Jackson, Up Up and Away!, and other Disney Channel movies that had (or seemed to have) predominately African American casting when I was younger; For my younger sister’s generation, there seems to be less of that. (Unless you count The Cheetah Girls, but I don’t count anything past the first one.)

Then I saw the trailer for Let It Shine. And I was left impressed.

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Disney’s Let It Shine stars Tyler James Williams (young Chris Rock in Everybody Hates Chris) as a young songwriter named Cyrus who lacks the confidence to seize his dreams, and in turn, get the girl. At the same time, Cyrus has to convince his father that hip-hop, regardless of the reputation it has, isn’t always negative or derogatory.
Let It Shine
premieres on the Disney Channel on June 15 at 8/7c. It stars  stars Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris), Brandon Mychal Smith (So Random!), Coco Jones (Radio Disney’s Next Big Thing) and Trevor Jackson (SyFy’s Eureka). The trailer can be watched here.While I haven’t seen Let It Shine yet, based on the trailer and information released via advanced viewings, Let It Shine sends out an overall positive message. It challenges society’s views of hip-hop and rap, and in turn, Black America, in order to tell a story. That may sound like it’s overreaching, society’s view of young African Americans today is based on rap culture, which is generally seen as negative. For Cyrus to convince his father (and he will be able to, because it’s Disney) that not all rap and hip-hop is bad sends the message that you cannot judge a genre based on its hype, just as you cannot judge a book by its cover. However, I’m going to withhold my applause on this one until I see it.


  1. so it IS still about color?

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