Stop Censoring Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah
Stop Censoring Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah
We fought against racism and eminent domain/redevelopment abuse in the 1990s, and now I'm fighting (for the truth) against blatant lies about racism where it doesn't exist (causing attacks against good anti-racist victims who are fighting back).
My name is Valarie Stewart. I'm the daughter of Nick and Edna Stewart, founders of the historic Ebony Showcase Theatre. The song Zip-a-dee-doo-dah won an Academy Award for best motion picture song. It was sung by James Baskett (Uncle Remus). My father is the voice of Brer Bear in the family film "Song of the South," and in the Splash Mountain ride at Disneyland. He was the third actor to sing the song in the movie as the voice of Brer Bear.
Photograph included in the Los Angeles Public Library Exhibit: L.A. Landmarks - Lost and Almost Lost.
Founded by Nick and Edna Stewart in 1950, the Ebony Showcase Theater was the first African American owned theater in Los Angeles, located at 4718-26 W. Washington Blvd. Nick Stewart, who was most famous for his portrayal of “Lightnin’” in the TV show Amos and Andy, and voicing Brer Bear in Disney’s Song of the South, sought to build a place where African Americans could act in roles outside of the traditional stereotypes. The theater has been credited for starting the career of many young black actors, including Michelle Nichols, John Amos and Isabel Sanford. It was demolished in 1998.
Photograph caption dated October 16, 1981 reads, "Nick and Edna Stewart have done a lot to change black stereotypes in theater with their plays since the days when Nick had an act as a comedian."
"Nick was a show business legend who made his mark in virtually every area of the entertainment spectrum from vaudeville and radio to motion pictures and television," said Roy E. Disney, vice chairman of The Walt Disney Company. " As the voice of Brer Bear, he lent his vocal skills to creating one of Disney's most memorable characters and a screen personality that was larger than life. In addition to his achievements as an actor and his important contribution here at Disney, Nick was a very passionate and caring individual who created a landmark Los Angeles theater and provided young people with a unique opportunity to participate in the theater and learn other related crafts. He will be greatly missed."
Thousands of people, from diverse backgrounds, continue to love it and sing it. It is listed in AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs, a list of the top 100 songs in American cinema of the 20th century. The list was unveiled by the American Film Institute on June 22, 2004, in a CBS television special hosted by John Travolta, who appeared in two films honored by the list, Saturday Night Fever and Grease. The list was created by a panel of jurors selected by AFI, who voted from a list of 400 nominated songs.
THE SONG IS WRONGLY CALLED RACIST BECAUSE IT BEGINS WITH THE SYLLABLE "ZIP," AS IN ZIP COON, ZIP CODE, AND ZIPPER.
An article by Kevin Polowy, Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment, titled "Silencing Song of the South: Why Disney's most racist film remains a cultural flash point" states that in June 2020 "Disney continued to scrub the film from its history, announcing the theme park ride Splash Mountain would no longer feature characters from the film or the film’s Oscar-winning Best Song, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” and instead be rebranded as a Princess and the Frog-themed attraction."
WALT DISNEY WOULD NOT AGREE
Walt Disney, was born in 1901 and he was told the Uncle Remus/Brer Rabbit stories as a child; so did my father, who was born in 1910. The film is for and about children. Diane Disney Miller was the daughter of Walt and Lillian Disney. She was born in 1933. Diane said that Song of the South “…was a film (her father, Walt Disney) really wanted to do. My dad quoted so much from Uncle Remus’ logic and philosophy.” Listen and pay attention to Walt Disney's own statements in 1946 for the truth about the movie and the song. The stories are fables like Aesop's fables. They are UNIVERSAL,
The folks at Disney are trying to manipulate all of us by using some of the oldest methods in the book. One such method is called an either-or fallacy or a false dilemma. They created situations that caused fans to fight among themselves, They have enough money and resources to honor the past and the present without the rancor that they are encouraging.
DISNEY'S ACTIONS ARE A CALCULATED AFFRONT TO WALT DISNEY AND BLACK HISTORY
When Disneyland celebrated its 67th Anniversary on July 17, 2022, they did not include a tradition, Walt Disney's July 17, 1955, opening day speech, for the first time in decades.
The first week in December, they announced that the Splash Mountain ride at Walt Disney World in Florida would close on January 23, 2023, one week before Martin Luther King day and 1 week before Black History month begins. It's a move that is insensitive to the importance of Black History and the accomplishments of the pioneering African American actors who were stars in "Song of the South."
LYING BY OMISSION IS A LOGICAL FALLACY
Disney executives and some journalists say that Disney fans want the Splash Mountain ride to be closed because a petition to re-theme the ride garnered about 22,000 signatures. They ignore the fact that another petition opposing the retheme had 92,000 signatures by December 3. That number has grown to over 97,000 signatures and, while people are still signing it, the Disney folks are ignoring it.
The lying by omission fallacy is described at rationalwiki.org as "Lying by omission, otherwise known as exclusionary detailing, is lying by either omitting certain facts or by failing to correct a misconception."
The song Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah is now censored at the Disney theme parks: Their official statement claims, "The removal of the song from Downtown Disney’s background music is part of a continuous process to deliver an environment that features stories that are relevant and inclusive."
So they remove Zip-a-dee-doo-dah while they include (relative and inclusive?) twerking on Disney Plus, and censor Jessica Rabbit. A recent lawsuit was filed in federal court, by Keith Wann, for discrimination by a white sign-language interpreter. https://nypost.com/2022/11/26/broadway-interpreter-fired-for-being-white-settles-case-amid-backlash/ .
Some critics claim that the movie is unrealistic, and therefore racist, because it depicts "happy slaves," while ignoring the fact that it is not about slavery and there are no slaves in the movie. In the live parts of the movie, Walt Disney was able to show children that people could live together regardless of race or social status.
PHOTO OF UNCLE REMUS & KIDS
The main character in the animated parts of the movie is Brer Rabbit, who always outsmarts his enemies, Brer Fox and Brer Bear. The stories are universal and have nothing to do with race or class.
VIDEO OF UNCLE REMUS SINGING ZIP-A-DEE-DOO-DAH
There are thousands of renditions of Song of the South online and in recordings. It has been sung by celebrities and common folk of all ethnic backgrounds. The film won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
James Baskett, the actor who played Uncle Remus, was the first African American male to get an Academy Award. The cast of “Song of the South” includes pioneers Hattie McDaniel, the “Gone With the Wind” star and first Black entertainer to win an Academy Award. In a 1947 interview, she told the American publication The Criterion, “If I had for one moment considered any part of the picture degrading or harmful to my people, I would not have appeared therein.” Her co-star James Baskett echoed her support of the film, saying, “I believe that certain groups are doing my race more harm in seeking to create dissension than can ever possibly come out of the ‘Song of the South.” James Baskett was the first Black man to win an Academy Award for his portrayal of Uncle Remus.
- Click for other Splash Mountain/Song of the South actions.
- Visit my unfinished zip-a-dee-doo-dah work in progress.
- Other new pages will be announced soon.