young disney girls

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This is Lee Thompson Young.
Lee Thompson Young was the first ever Disney star. He starred in their first ever original sitcom ‘the famous Jett Jackson’ and two Disney channel original movies. He was their first star and their first black star. He started it all.
Without Lee Thompson Young the network would NOT have gotten to where it is today. We would not have girl meets world if it wasn’t for him. We wouldn’t have any of the shows Disney has ever brought us over the years if it wasn’t for him. He started it all. He was their first star.

And today is the three year anniversary of his death. He took his own life three years ago today. He suffered from depression and bipolar.

Disney has not mentioned him once. Not on Instagram. Not on Twitter. Not on Facebook. They’re not airing his show or his movies. They are not even acknowledging him. They didn’t even on the day he died.

And that is not fucking okay with me. HE MADE DISNEY CHANNEL. HE STARTED IT ALL. WITHOUT HIM THEY WOULD NOT BE HERE TODAY AND THEY DONT EVEN HAVE THE COURTESY TO EVEN TWEET RIP.

LEE DESERVES BETTER. Please DO NOT let Disney get away with this. Tweet them. Leave comments on their Instagram. DO NOT let them forget him. Tweet the gmw stars, anyone who can get the network to acknowledge the young man who made them who they are today. DO NOT SLEEP ON THIS. LEE THOMPSON YOUNG DESERVES BETTER. HE DESERVES TO BE REMEMBERED

you know what we need to talk about more

first of all we’ve got these four talented and racially diverse ladies with healthy body types singing and dancing to songs about female friendships 

and empowering women

they literally have a song called “cinderella” about not needing a man

and in the movie sequels they travel to spain and india 

where supporting characters have actual character arcs and aren’t just “cultural decoration”

oh look bilingual songs

it doesn’t hurt that the whitney houston produced the first two movies

it’s so important that we had something like the cheetah girls to be primarily targeted towards young girls on disney channel

People are weird about young, teenage, outspoken girls* in the public sphere. It’s either they are put down due to sexism or ageism or held up on this pedestal like they know best (and I realize that, in some ways, this blog contributes to that). It’s the problem with words like “woke” and “problematic” and “canceled” and the very creepy, narrow way it’s approached, especially on sites like Tumblr. There’s a lot of misdirected anger at a lot of these young girls when they do something perceived as wrong. Especially when they identify as “activists” (even though activism is not an identity but a literal demonstration of the verb ‘act’ and the adjective ‘active’, but that’s another issue for another day) and are in the business of publicly educating and dispersing knowledge. It’s like we’ve moved on from the former expectance of controlled young actresses and singers who never speak out and pepper teen magazines with aspirational and fantastical imagery, to expecting perfection in a different way—that these young girls must have perfect ideologies, perfect education, perfect execution. Maybe it’s partly these young girls’ faults for taking on these responsibilities that they are unequipped for. Maybe not. Flaws are still despised in female public figures. Perfection—variant kinds—is still expected. Maybe that’s (part of) the problem.

Amandla identifies as non-binary but is still publicly coded as ‘female’ (an adjective she does not completely reject).

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Y’all always talk about how good Disney was back in the day but you SLEEP on the famous Jett Jackson, aka one of the first ever live action Disney Channel original sitcoms aka THE FIRST Disney Channel original sitcom with a black lead (RIP Lee Thompson Young). 

Y’all especially sleep on this extremely important and still extremely relevant episode from 2000 called ‘Food for Thought’.

See, The Famous Jett Jackson is about a boy who stars on a very popular tv show who convinces his show runners to move the show from Hollywood and back to his home town and how different his life is. 

But in this particular episode it starts with Jett doing an interview in Charlotte where he is really troubled when the interviewer starts to remind him about the privilege he has being a successful young black man and how that isn’t the reality for most young black men where they’re from and how he’ll never really understand that. Jett is really bothered by this so he decides to brave the city alone and see what the interviewer was talking about. He encounters another young black man around his age who is experiencing a very different life than he is and helps show Jett what black people without the privilege he has really go through

But most of all I want to highlight a specific scene that really struck me when I was rewatching this. Jett is trying desperately to call his dad on a pay phone after losing his wallet and is frustrated when the phone is broken, so he slams down the receiver. That’s when two cops show show up and force him to the ground, physically hurt and try to detain him.

F o r    s l a m m i n g   a   r e c e i v e r. 

The only reason they let him go is because a taxi happens to drive by with an ad for his show on the side and one of the cops recognises him. It felt so real. 

Here are some quotes from the episode that really struck me and are still so relevant:

‘The fact is, despite how far we’ve come in the last 40 years, a young black man living in the community is still far more likely to find himself in the back of a cop car than the back of a limo,’

‘Just another black man dead in the streets, you know. TV news didn’t even bother to cover it.’

‘Why you harassing the boy? The kid’s just tryna call his dad.’

‘You think I don’t know what it means to be a black man in America?’

‘If those people who can help, don’t, who will?’

WATCH THIS EPISODE. DON’T SLEEP ON JETT JACKSON. DON’T SLEEP ON THIS EPISODE. DON’T LET DISNEY FORGET IT.

This is the kind of shit Girl Meets World needs to be addressing. This is what I want on the show. This is what Disney used to be. This is what Disney needs to be showing now.

I asked my niece who her favorite Disney princess was and I was not disappointed

I was babysitting my niece yesterday, and she’s the sweetest little girl I’ve ever met. She brought her collection of Disney movies, and I asked her who her favorite princess was. She didn’t even hesitate to say Mulan. Most little girls say Ariel or Belle, so I asked her why. She said this: “I like her cause she’s smart and brave, and she’s a hero! I wanna be like her.” Then she went back to looking through her movie collection. I was geeking out about this so I’m not sure if you guys think it’s nearly as cute as I do, but I had to share it.