My child is obsessed with Netflix’s remake of the Magic School Bus, specifically the time zone special. The Magic School Bus was an animated educational children’s television series that ran originally from 1994 to 1997. The series received critical acclaim for its use of celebrity voice talent and combining entertainment with an educational series.
I know y’all see the changes they made in the design of the characters but lemme stay on topic. I watched the show as a child and was so excited to hear the theme song originally performed by performed by Little Richard, a Black performer who was described as the “Architect of Rock and Roll”. As the credits rolled the theme played and an eerily familiar voice attacked my ear holes. It was Lin-Manuel Miranda.
While I have no doubt Lin-Manuel Miranda is creative and talented, I wonder why he was considered the best fit for this. I’ve shared how I feel about his work on Moana and after seeing the Little Mermaid starring Halle Bailey, I feel the same about his involvement in the historical event. His involvement in a piece is undeniable and immediately recognizable. This is mainly because his style involves a lot of upbeat musical numbers, quick raps and loud theatrically emotional numbers.
I can’t help but feel like this is some sort of “BIPOC complex” mixed with an inflated ego. The idea that just because you aren’t a White man means you’d be the best choice to be involved with the storytelling for other people who aren’t White, even if they aren’t from your community is absurd. It also solidifies that you don’t have to be White to participate in White Supremacy culture. I’m sure he won’t be saying no to projects soon but I really wish he would.
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