samoa'

8

The Tuilagi brothers talking about their sister Julie and how fa'afafines are seen by the Samoan culture.

(The audio was screwed up; from the point Manu said “our sister" onward, there was loud humming and I could hear almost nothing… I had to go by guessing and lip-reading, so the text might be a little off. I think that is the essence of what they were saying, though.)

2

“Characters in Moana don’t accurately resemble Polynesian people”
Honestly, I would say that if everyone were skinny and light-skinned (like the rest of Disney). But that’s not the case. Im sure there’d be just as much outrage if he were skinny with a six pack. You can’t please everyone 🤔

Honestly Polynesian bodies are being farmed by the US army. American Samoans are denied the right to vote, many are not even guaranteed citizenship upon being born in American Samoa, which is only seen as constitutional due to the blatantly racist laws that are over 120 years old [x]. The US Armies top ranked recruitment station is found in American Samoa, this is due to the youth viewing the Army as the only escape from the economic down fall in American Samoa.

The army has found fertile ground in the poverty pockets of the Pacific. The per capita annual income is $8,000 in American Samoa…

The army’s minimum signing bonus is $5,000. Starting pay for a private first class is $17,472. Education benefits can be as much as $70,000. [x]

This really isnt a surprise though, because during WWII the population of US Armed forces outnumbered the local population, and military training would be given to boys only 14 years old. Following this, the young Samoan forces would assist in the battles of the US and sent out from their now over run country. The US has always seen Polynesia as a farm for their resources, from their early “blackbirding” to their more recent thirst for Army recruits.

Similar situations are currently happening in Guam, where the US government refuse to acknowledge the people as full citizens, funding to veterans are at a record low, and army recruitment is at an all time high.

October
8: Mississippi, South Carolina, U.S. Virgin Islands
9: Alaska, Rhode Island
10: American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii
11: Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas
12: Missouri
14: New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma
15: Delaware
17: Virginia
18: Kansas, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, West Virginia
19: Massachusetts
24: Alabama, California, South Dakota,
28: Guam, Nebraska
31: Washington

November
1: Utah
2: Vermont
3: Maryland
8 (Election Day): Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Wyoming

(Fun fact: You don’t need to register to vote in North Dakota. Deadlines for Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico have already passed.)


Go to iwillvote.com to register to vote, check your status, or update your registration in minutes.

2

“Maui Costume for Kids - Disney Moana”
 $44.95 - $49.95
“Your little one will set off on adventures in this Maui Costume featuring the demigod’s signature tattoos, rope necklace and island-style skirt.”
: : source : : 

Ok we’ll get to this costume in a minute…

First, some genuine kudos to the production team of Moana, out later this year. They appear to hit the mark on some key points:

  • The story calls attention to the South Pacific region with a princess who needs to “save her family from annihilation.” Islands in this area are desperate to address the climate crisis, and need more advocacy in the media. (Here’s one of many case studies).
  • Accuracy & Inclusion - Tattoo historians, anthropologists and island elders, called “The Oceanic Story Trust,” were key advisors throughout.
  • Writer Taika Waititi has Maori heritage. Hollywood tells a lot of stories about people of color without input from the groups they represent, so Taika’s involvement is a win.
  • Composer Opetaia Foa'i is a Samoan native. He brings instruments from the region, with songs written in Samoan and Tuvaluan languages. 
  • Actors Dwayne Johnson, Auli’i Cravalho, Temuera Morrison : Cravalho is a Hawaiian native, Morrison is Maori, and Johnson is of Samoan descent, with traditional pe’a tattoos.
    (Ok Hawaii is in the North Pacific, but Disney’s still come a long way since JTT and Jeremy Irons played East African characters.) 

Now for the costume and the brownface of it all…

“Culture as Costume” is never a good thing for humans to do to each other, and “Skin as Costume” has a history of mocking and dehumanizing people of color.

That said, free speech is important and ignorance is legal. 

The bigger issue here is Corporate Colonialism. Disney is mass-producing brown, tattooed, South Pacific skin suits. A giant company is (literally) profiting off the backs of less powerful minorities, commercializing sacred tattoo practices, and not a dime of it goes back to support the region. 

As mentioned above, these people are in crisis. They are also outnumbered. To plunder from them without compensation or political advocacy is to perpetuate colonialism. 

Disney does have the right to try anything they can to turn a profit on this film. As mindful consumers, though, it’s on us to put away our wallets and speak up.

TLDR: See the movie if you want, but boycott the merch.
• • •
Comments are open, opinions are welcome.
Thanks so much for reading, being interested and engaged.
With love,
Morgan @tattrx​