Back in August, Cinderella on Broadway announced its first African-American lead to wear the glass slippers, Keke Palmer. Your standard reaction to the diverse casting was probably something like, “Oh, that’s nice,” or “It’s a little weird we’re still having ‘firsts’ like this in 2014,” but somewhere in another building, Cinderella’s movie casting director leapt from her chair, fingered through her filing cabinet, and studied their lineup like, “ah sh*t.” Disney released its official trailer for 2015’s reboot of the Cinderella and it has the diversity of a Klansmen meeting.
Introducing the classic fairy tale to a new generation of children, Disney tossed the memory of 1997 for a cast more homogeneous than identical twins. Hollywood made a Dorian Grey-style wager for Sony Pictures’ Annie: to be greenlit, and one day someone will find the Blu-Ray of Cinderella in an attic getting older and whiter. In fact, the only non-white person in the trailer is the same forgettable Black throwaway character from season 2 of Game of Thrones. The casting director, let’s call her Lucy Bevan, frantically fanned through piles of headshots for her token before Robb Stark walked in her office like “I know just the guy.” She thanked him graciously, and they hugged.
Surprisingly, after the addition of Xaro Xhoan Daxos, Cinderella actually includes some riveting characters of color, according to IMDB. The official cast reveals complex characters of color such as “Captain.” We can assume he is the captain of an army platoon, or maybe a boat. I can’t wait to see the dynamic struggles of “Palace Guard.” The characters “Ball Guest” and “Ball Dancers” are rumored to offer commentary on queer identities of ballroom dance in 17th century France. And who is likely to forget the nuanced portrayal of the character “Townsfolk”? A female character of color, Princess Mei Mei, even has a name and is speculated to speak in a complete sentence with a verb.
This isn’t an indictment on the soundness of the film — it might be very good — but I’m less than excited because I don’t care about films that show a world without my family in it. I dedicate my time to family movies that dedicated theirs to consider the messages they send to children, and include inclusiveness and beauty, because, yes, they’re that important.
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Read more from Lauren Bullock at blacknerdproblems.com