Usually during Black History Month, networks and streaming platforms roll out all of the Black films/series they have in their archives, most of which would normally be classified as traumatic. But not during February. Nope, during BHM they’re considered “must see” and are amplified as “Black voices” to appease, well I really don’t know who. Maybe their non-Black viewers?
Well, thankfully that’s not the case with at least one streaming platform. This month, Disney Junior and Disney Plus have made sure to provide content meant to uplift by collaborating with music legends The Roots and Lion Forge Animation to create Rise Up, Sing Out, a short form animated series educating kids about self-love, tolerance and the world around them. It’s so good. And necessary. Below are five reasons why you and yours should tune in and get familiar.
It does what’s meant to be done, especially for the Disney Junior audience: it inspires! If you have kids (or are a big kid yourself) I promise there’s no way the body won’t be moving when hearing Black Thought over a Roots composition.
Here are a few of the titles and synopsis for the series:
Gather Round: Kingston spreads a positive message
Super Bonnet: The girls celebrate Black hair care at a sleepover
Speak Up!: Taniya expresses how to respond to hurtful comments
Name Tag: The kids embrace the meaning behind their names
Let Love Overrule: Terrell and Kingston sing about kindness toward all
Marvelous Me: The kids celebrate multiculturalism
I’ll Be Here: Abuela sings a lullaby about family love and support
Create Your World: The kids are empowered about the future through art
OK, OK. So I listed ALL of the titles. Also, all of that messaging happens in two minutes or less for each episode. Efficiency! Also also, if that isn’t Black Excellence, I’m not sure what is. Let’s GO!
Disney Animation director Latoya Raveneau, who also helms The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, is serving as showrunner for this series so you already know the characters will have all of the nuances and features that celebrate their Blackness.
The Production Company
Lion Forge, led by David Steward II and Carl Reed, is the same animation company that was responsible for the Academy Award-winning short Hair Love. The duo has steadily changed the way we see ourselves, and have elevated 2D animation to the next level. So, so good.
Yes, I mentioned the music before but now it’s time to celebrate the minds behind the music production and execution: the multi-talented, multi-award winning conglomerate, The Roots! Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter are also serving as executive producers on the project through their Two One Five Entertainment studio.
All eight episodes of Rise Up, Sing Out are streaming on Disney Plus.