I’m an illustration student – which is basically just an excuse to go see animated movies as an adult without children and not look creepy. So yes, that’s why I as a 21- year-old woman have intense opinions on todays animated features – especially when it comes to gender and race representation. Animated movies are feeding the creative parts of our children’s brains and it’s important to be critical of children’s media to make sure every child sees themselves represented.
This is why I’m beyond psyched to see that DreamWorks has announced that its new 3D animated film Home will feature a young black girl as its protagonist. I feel it’s important to mention that this is the first 3D Animated film about a black character ever. Ever. Copy that? Kids haven’t even seen a regular 2D animated movie starring a black character in 5 years, since the release of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. I’ll spare you my prepared rant about how the first black Disney princess spends more than half the movie as a green frog, but I hope you see the problem in that.
Now I loved Frozen and the conversation it started for women-driven kid's movies, but my argument remains that there is no reason to not feature any people of color. If you can have a talking snowman, you can have people of color.
DreamWorks’ new film Home follows the relationship of an “enterprising young girl named Tip” and a fugitive alien whose people have taken over earth and relocated all the humans. Early reports also have stated that –wait for it- Rihanna will be voicing the young girl Tip. I know. I know. I’m peeing my pants too.
Hopefully movies like this will stir up come competition amongst the other animated studios and cause the release of more movies staring women of color. Pixar to date has never had a non-white character or voice actor in a lead role. Insert eye roll here.
You can get a taste for the film’s alien stars in the four minute short released by DreamWorks called Almost Home.