Y’all almost got out of here without my yearly Black History “Disney ain’t sh*t” post! ALMOST. Because this morning somebody asked me why Stevie Wonder* is everywhere and after I checked to make sure he wasn’t dead, I said, “I dunno. But will he be my next BHFOTD? Find out on the next Dragon Ball Z!” And he almost was! Steveland Morris is a musical genius and I love him (and I wished his people loved him the way I did because if they did they’d tell him to just gon’ and shave off those last 4 braids he’s clinging to. He can’t even see them! Or can he?). ANYWAY that is NOT the point. HE IS NOT TODAY’S FACT.

I guess now is just as good a time as any to point out that YES, I’m always saying things that a) other people are thinking and b) keep me from having nice things. Did y’all know that back in the blogger days (and also the BEFORE times), I spent a lot of time going to Disneyland? Because one of my favorite couples always got free passes and even though MOST bloggers could ask for free tickets, EYE could not because every year I tell people that Disney ain’t sh!t and then I show my work?

TO BE FAIR (and I am, it’s the libra way) they’re workin’ on it. I mean, it took Disney until 1997 to make a Black HUMAN cartoon characters (The Muses. You’re welcome). It should be noted that the first Disney movie was released in 1937 and I’m almost POSITIVE there were Black People in 1937. Again, not the point. The point is that in *checks notes* 2020, Disney/Pixar featured its first Black LEAD character. [hmm…1997, 1998 *counts on fingers* you know what? nvmd]

That movie was Soul, and having a black lead was not the only first in that movie! The first Black lead in a Pixar flick also had the first Black co-director, Kemp Powers. Written by Pete Docter and Mike Jones, Pixar recognized that if the lead was going to be Black, “we’d better get some black people in here quick! need a lot of help.” Britta Wilson, the company’s vice president for inclusion strategies, helped build an internal “Cultural Trust” made up of some of the studio’s Black employees, a group that was diverse in terms of gender, jobs and age. Further complicating their work was the fact that animation is a medium of caricature; the Pixar crew strove to create characters who were recognizably Black while avoiding anything that recalled the racist stereotypes in old cartoons, like The Jungle Book and Dumbo. [:::shifty eyes::: those aren’t the examples used in the article I found, BUT I AM NOT WRONG] Docter, who has written about animation history, acknowledged, “There’s a long and painful history of caricatured racist design tropes that were used to mock African-Americans.” In fact, Pixar and Doctor integrated Black culture in order to remove their caricature, stereotypes, and tropes and not just make white characters who were brown-skinned.

Reflecting on the creation of “Soul,” Powers said, “When someone told me I was Pixar’s first Black director, I said that can’t be right. Pete said — and my hope is — this is an indicator of changes that are going to be pretty rapid.” There are more animators of color and women in the business than there were 15 or 20 years ago, he noted. “It’s sad it’s taken this long, but I’m glad it’s coming finally.”

*closes up all the tabs I had open to talk about this film I’ve never seen* YES, I KNOW. It’s on my list. Anyway. That’s ALSO the end of Black History Month for those of you who aren’t black ‘cause EVERY DAY is Black history when YOU are. Hope y’all enjoyed this year’s talk about black people doing stuff while I’m trying to ALSO do stuff. See you next year! Or whenever I have something I feel like talking about. BYEEEEE!!!

*I have exactly TWO Stevie Wonder stories. But I’m going to be nice (LOLOLOL) and tell you the one about how when auntie’s baby got dedicated/christened at one of the blackest churches in Los Angeles, Stevie Wonder was there and the pastor had Stevie come on up and sing a song because of COURSE he did which meant that we were there MUCH longer than we expected to be even for a black church which ALWAYS runs longer than… umm.. LONG (yeah, I was gonna say something crass but this is a church story so just kidding) and also, the pastor mispronounced by niece’s name.