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Disney’s Soul Is The Pixar Movie Representing Black Families

today29 December 2020

Background

Between the coronavirus, George Floyd, and homeschooling, 2020 was not good. So when Soul, Pixar’s new animated feature about a middle-aged down-on-his-luck jazz musician was premiered on Disney + during Christmas Day, it looked like the spirit-lifter we all needed right now. Even the lead character was voiced by the awesome Jamie Foxx.

 

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The movie introduces us to Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx), a talented 45-year-old jazz musician who dreams of playing on the big stage, but instead teaches music to middle school students  who’d rather be anywhere else. His dream is hanging by a spider web thread when everything changes. He’s offered the gig of a lifetime playing with the great Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett). He’s so elated by this miracle that he takes a bad fall into a ditch, and finds himself on the escalator to “the great beyond.” 

 

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Now on a quest to make it back to earth, he finds himself in the space called ‘the great before’ where he meets a very jaded soul named 22 (Tina Fey). Through some plot twists, they do end up on earth together, where 22 and Joe both discover that life isn’t exactly what they thought it was. In which white kids want to be Kings and save the world, while Black kids just want to survive. 

 

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Pixar actually took a chance and made a movie that is humanizing and powerful at a time where we’re still fighting the misconception that positive Black stories don’t sell. After further research, a lot made sense: the studio intentionally created a culturally sensitive and uplifting movie for its very first African-American storyline. You’ll have to watch the movie to see how it gets resolved. Soul answers the question in a brilliant way.

Written by: Aqilah Najwa


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