So I’m listening to the obc of The Lion King for the first time and HOLY COW BABY NALA (Kajuana Shuford) IS SO FREAKING ADORABLE HOLY CRAP I SQUEALED WHEN SHE SANG “Kings don’t need advice from little hornbills for a start” I JUST. YES GOOD.
Out of curiosity, do you consider Kida (Kidagakash) from Atlantis: The Lost Empire to be a PoC? I thought so but people never seem to include her.
She is of a mythical race which is why she is never included. It’s difficult to apply race to non-humans. But that doesn’t mean that characters aren’t to be interpreted by their consumers.
There are plenty of sources inside and outside the film that prove that she and her people are coded as people of color.
Disney is often, but not always deliberate about choosing their voice actors (or at least they were in the 90’s and early 2000’s) and they usually cast actors that are generally of the same race of the character i.e. Mulan, Lion King (animals, I know but it says something that young Nala, young Simba, Mufasa and Sarabi were played by black actors), Lilo and Stitch, Pocahontas, the brothers in Big Hero 6 and Princess and the Frog (excluding Naveen who is ofc racially ambiguous, but that doesn’t invalidate that he’s coded as a MOC). For Kida, they cast a black actress most famous for voicing black animated characters. That says a lot.
Historians cite atlantis as being off the coast of Africa with Mediterranean ties.
The masks used in the film are blatantly African inspired along with their clothing.
It’s been scientifically proven that human origins started in Africa and in the film, they establish this society as being as hundreds of thousand years old.
Not all people of the African diaspora have textured hair and brown eyes
Kida has African features such as: brown skin, full lips, broad nose (I dare someone to look at her father’s nose especially and try to say otherwise), bone structure and hips wider than any previous European princess. Disney also tries to incorporate features of the voice actor into the design, meaning that to divorce Kida of her blackness would be to divorce Cree from her ethnicity as well.
So yes, I do interpret her as a WOC, but I do condemn Disney for not explicitly stating so and relying on magic and white hair to distance her from people of color. (Not that I don’t like magic in my Disney films, but none of the other films use magic as a crutch for racial ambiguity)
Tavarez was a resident of Bellerose, Queens, New York City, and attended P.S. 176. She was chosen to play the role of Nala after a cattle call audition in 2008 at the Apollo Theater. She became one of two girls who split the role, with each girl performing four shows weekly. Several months after debuting in the show in September 2009, she was forced to leave the production after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. The daughter of anAfrican American mother and a Dominican father, Tavarez faced much greater difficulty in attempts to find a match for a bone marrow transplant as minorities are significantly underrepresented in donor registries, despite efforts by such performers as Alicia Keys, Rihanna and 50 Cent to recruit prospective donors from among their fans. Unsuccessful in finding a bone marrow donor, Tavarez underwent an umbilical cord blood transplant in August 2010.