Obama on Disney “Song of the South” DVD Release??
A well-placed Disney source states the controversial 1946 film “Song of the South” will be released to DVD with an introduction by American President Barack Obama. Obama reportedly has recorded a “historical context” opening to immediately precede the film to assuage potential critics of the film as promoting racism. The live action/animated/musical film produced by Walt Disney himself has never been released to the American home market due to concerns about its blatant stereotypical portrayal of African-Americans. The source says Disney wants to show the utmost care in releasing the DVD, viewing the film more as a historical document reflecting racist American views of the 1940s. Disney also wants to celebrate the Civil Rights advances the United States has made since the film’s initial release. A Disney official has previously said “We know we want people to see Song of the South because we realize it’s a big piece of company history, and we want to do it the right way.”
“Song of the South” will be released under Disney’s Touchstone banner with a voluntary MPAA “R” rating. Thus, Disney is releasing the movie with a LOUD warning to parents that young children should not view the movie due to its blatant racial stereotypes. The “R” rating will hopefully ensure that young people not see the film until they have at least a middle-school level understanding of American civil rights history in the United States right up to President Obama’s election as President.
The film is based on the “Uncle Remus” stories first published as magazines articles by Joel Chandler Harris in 1879. Harris’ stories, and the film, were set after the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery. The hit song from the film, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” is well-known even to those who have never heard of the movie. Actor James Baskett’s portrayal of “Uncle Remus” earned him the first Academy Award given to a male African-American actor, albeit an “honorary” one. Regrettably, Baskett was unable to attend the film’s premiere in Atlanta because it was a racially segregated city.
While the NAACP reportedly has no current position on the film, the organization denounced it as racist in 1946. NAACP executive Walter White released the following statement at that time; “The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People recognizes in ‘Song of the South’ remarkable artistic merit in the music and in the combination of living actors and the cartoon technique. It regrets, however, that in an effort neither to offend audiences in the north or south, the production helps to perpetuate a dangerously glorified picture of slavery. Making use of the beautiful Uncle Remus folklore, ‘Song of the South’ unfortunately gives the impression of an idyllic master-slave relationship which is a distortion of the facts.”
As further evidence of how seriously Disney is handling the release of the controversial film, Disney will donate net proceeds from sales of the DVD to UNFC.org, an educational assistance organization with 40 private, historically black, member colleges and universities.
Additionally, Disney has already developed a Middle-School level educational program that teaches students to recognize and reject racial/ethnic stereotypes of any kind. The program will be available free to educators. While it uses “Song of the South” and other Disney film clips as learning tools, the curriculum will not promote the Disney brand in any way.
(PURE PARODY FOLKS!! Maybe someday??)