Disney seems to be getting the hint that whiteness is not the norm with the release of movies such as “Black Panther” and “Wrinkle in Time,” which celebrate people of color and feature many women of color in particular. Many movies in the past have portrayed women in general as being more love driven than anything else. For women of color however, they did not even get the chance to be featured as main characters in these “prince charming” and “happily ever after” plot lines.
While there are still many stories to be told, we are seeing progress, and this shift should not be mistaken for a trend. This is the change that people all over the world have been asking for and I applaud anyone who uses their platform to be part of that.
As a young black woman, I have come across people who view our culture as being a trend they can use for their benefit before moving on to the next thing. I understand that a company such as Disney is money driven, but I hope that they seize this opportunity to also make an impact, rather than just moving on to the next “big thing.”
With African-Americans and Asians representing only 26 percent of moviegoers according to the Motion Picture Association of America, it makes sense that Disney would try to cater to them in order to increase their revenue. It is no secret that Disney has been criticized for its lack of diversity and poor portrayal of women, so they needed to make changes in order to get more people of different backgrounds in theaters.
With social media playing such an essential role in our everyday lives, many take to their personal pages to voice their opinions about whatever that goes on in our society. Disney therefore has at their disposal the ability to stay informed on what people care about. I’m glad they have been listening to the public’s opinion.
I just hope that these changes will not just be a marketing strategy, but rather an opportunity to truly celebrate the cultures of people of color. After all, movies play such a crucial role in shaping our perceptions of ourselves, others and our environment. Portraying African-Americans or any other groups in a good light helps break stereotypes and could be just what we need to bring about equality.
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