For one, this is the first major Hollywood studio that dared to release a 3D animated feature starring a black character — all the way through. See in 2009, Disney released The Princess and the Frog but the princess was primarily a frog.
Seeing a brown-face, spunky and sassy little sista named Tip with “not-so-perfect” hair and an air about her is truly refreshing.
The character is understandably relatable. Tip is voiced by superstar singer Rihanna; but it’s not Riri’s star power that will propel this movie forward; it’s the mere fact that moms of color like me will see a familiar girl that they know either in themselves or in their darling daughters. I see my 11-year-old Mikaela who doesn’t fit the mold, and often feels ALIENated because of it.
And as an aspiring actress, Mikaela’s often turned down for roles because of her kinky hair and brown skin. Basically, there aren’t many movie roles being written for brown girls and that’s a problem.
Empowerment is everything and there also aren’t many animated movies that come alone and give rise to having a black little girl with curly hair anchor a major Hollywood film. There is significance when black girls with curly hair like Quvenzhane Wallis become sought after in the midst of a white actors landscape in live movies. When our daughters only see rail thin white girls with flowing blond locs as the heroine in movies and in animation, they are less inclined to feel confident about their curves and coils. Directors and producers don’t seem to understand that even animated movies need cultural diversity. Other people exist. Animated movies like HOME should not come along once every 10 years or so.
There are millions of black girls who not only want to see rainbows and dare to dream and believe they can be anything, but they also want to see a rainbow coalition of their own kind on movie screens. When my daughter Mikaela saw the trailer she said this about Tip: “She kinda looks like me, but animated.” My daughter immediately saw herself. That is power in itself.
A UCLA Bunche Center for African American Studies report also backs the fact that movies with more minorities means more money. It doesn’t say if those numbers include animated features but you do the math. The Princess and the Frog grossed $267,045,765 (worldwide) for Disney making it a box office success, and became the fifth highest grossing animated film of 2009. And like I said earlier, she wasn’t a black Princess all the way through the movie but instead a frog for most of it. I hope Dreamworks knocks HOME out the box-office ball park for all brown girls. But in order to do that we have to get behind this movie and sit in those theater seats this opening weekend.
Moms like me need movies like this to happen much more often than not, so my Mikaela will remain confident and strut with pride knowing that everything about her is beautiful. Just seeing this movie centered around a brown girl is everything. HOME is a must-see for all brown girls because it’s a beautiful homage to self-acceptance, love and friendship. This movie will not only make you laugh out loud, but you’ll fall in love with Tip and Oh, a lovable misfit from another planet who comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human. And while he changes her planet and she changes his world, they discover the true meaning of the word HOME.
The movie also features Jim Parsons, Steve Martin and Jennifer Lopez.
HOME is such an empowering film due to the cultural diversity of the main character Tip. HOME teaches the importance of family and friendship as well as the value of learning from your mistakes. It’s a great family film and I encourage you to support the film during opening weekend. HOME opens in theaters on March 27th. #DreamWorksHOME.
HOME, a Dreamworks animated film starring Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Jim Parsons and Steve Martin, opens in theaters on March 27, 2015. It is rated PG. Get more information about the movie here, and find theaters, tickets and showtimes for your area here. Website: www.meettheboov.com
* * *
This post is part of a compensated campaign with Dreamworks. All opinions are my own.