What ARE Conservatives So Afraid of in This ‘Proud Family’ Backlash?
The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder is being attacked by viewers calling the show “woke” and “anti-white” because it dared to reference race issues and the history of slavery. The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder is a revival of the original Proud Family animated series, which ran on the Disney Channel from 2001–2005. Animator Bruce W. Smith is the creator and producer of both the original series and the revival. Both series have received high praise for their roots in Black culture, social commentary, educational value, and representation of the LGBTQ+ country.
The Prouder Family: Louder and Prouder currently boasts a perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. However, in stark contrast to the praise it has received from critics is its 12% Audience Score. The audience score plummeted after the premiere of season 2 on Disney+ on February 1, due to individuals review bombing the show over one particular episode. The episode that received backlash was the season finale, “Juneteenth,” which sees Penny (Kyla Pratt) and her friends rising to take action when they learn their town’s founder was a slave owner and demanding that the town change its name and drop its plans to honor the slave owner with a statue.
The episode also sees Penny and her friends performing a rap song for their school. The song, “Slaves Built This Country,” references the history of slavery in America and states that America has not yet “atoned” for its history. Additionally, it points out how oppression still existed even after slavery was abolished in the form of segregation, Jim Crow laws, and the prison system. It also points out how figures like Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, and Frederick Douglass often get glossed over while Abraham Lincoln gets sole credit for ending slavery.
The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder sparks backlash
It didn’t take long for conservatives to get wind of the song and to immediately begin calling for boycotts of Disney and claiming The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder is “woke,” “anti-white,” and “Black Lives Matter propaganda.” In addition to the song, users also targeted a scene in which the kids lead a peaceful protest against the town’s founder, Christian A. Smith. The kids hold signs and chant, “Christian A. Smith, his legacy is a myth.” Police show up in riot gear to face a handful of school kids, and an intense standoff ensues, with one man asking the cops to put “these little kids in cuffs.” Meanwhile, parents watch in fear as the police continue converging on the unarmed kids.
Of course, the backlash primarily came from openly conservative sites, accounts, and figures like The Washington Stand, Ben Shapiro, End Wokeness, and Liberals Leaving. The conclusions that they drew from the two clips were pretty absurd and included claims that Disney is trying to “brainwash” kids, is spreading a “lie” that racism is widespread, and that Disney “hates” everyone and wants kids to think they’re “little racists.” Users also began stating that they were canceling Disney+ or trips to Disneyland over the episode.
The Prouder Family: Louder and Prouder creator asks, “Why the fear?”
In the midst of the backlash, many expressed support for the show and questioned why the scenes in question would even anger anyone. Brian Krassenstein stated that naysayers were “literally mad” that the show simply expressed a well-known fact that slaves helped build America. The Prouder Family: Louder and Prouder’s creator replied to Krassenstein, agreeing and questioning what the critics were so afraid of. He also defended the show and expressed his joy at being able to foster important conversation through it.
Mostly, the backlash just sparked confusion as to what exactly conservatives are angered by. That the show referenced actual history? That it dared to utter the word “slavery?” That it featured a protest? Largely, it just seemed like the latest attempt from viewers to try to dismantle Disney for being “woke” any time it adds any bit of representation or educational value to its shows. This was further backed up by the fact that the show, even back in 2001, has always been very dedicated to fostering discussion when it came to topics like the LGBTQ+ community, racism, and Islamophobia after 9/11. Hence, the argument that The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder is part of some new woke political agenda from Disney makes no sense.
Ultimately, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder isn’t afraid to tackle racism, the history of slavery, and the experiences of Black individuals in America, especially during Black History Month. The fact that individuals could be so offended and angered by a show discussing history and facts just highlights the necessity of shows tackling such topics. These parents, proudly touting that they want to shield their children from merely knowing that slavery and racism exist, illustrate exactly why Disney shows like The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder have to take on the role of educating the younger generation.
(featured image: Disney)
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