Disney removes ‘zip-a-dee-doo-dah’ music from parade over links to ‘racist’ film ‘Song of the South’
Disney have removed the phrase ‘zip-a-dee-doo-dah’ from the music of its in-park parades over links to 1946 film ‘Song of the South’ which pushed racial stereotypes amid an ultra-woke makeover to the amusement park.
The catchy phrase has been a staple in pop culture since its release but has long been criticized for its idealistic portrayal of the post-war South.
It was featured in the music of Disney ‘Magic Happens’ parades before the COVID-19 pandemic but has been quietly removed by the billion-dollar company which has been trying to distance itself from the film.
Multiple park attractions and events referencing it have been closed or altered by Disney in recent years as seen with the closure of fan favorite Splash Mountain which shut down in January because it featured characters and music from the movie.
Disney has removed the phrase ‘zip-a-dee-doo-dah’ from the music of its in-park parades over links to 1946 film ‘Song of the South’ which pushed racial stereotypes amid an ultra-woke makeover to the amusement park
The phrase has been a staple in pop culture since its release but has long been criticized for its idealistic portrayal of the post-war South and racial stereotypes
Multiple park attractions and events referencing it have been closed or altered by Disney in recent years as seen with the closure of fan favorite Splash Mountain
The move comes amid a number of progressive changes at the theme park.
The steps include changing park policy to stop staff from using gendered greetings, implementing an anti-racism training course for employees, giving old characters progressive makeovers, and removing offensive imagery from rides and movies.
The brand has made numerous steps towards becoming more woke – including a gay kiss between two female characters in the movie Lightyear, and black actress Halle Berry was cast as Ariel in its upcoming, live-action re-make of The Little Mermaid.
While many have praised the company – which was previously known for including numerous racist undertones and offensive stereotypes in its old movies some wonder if they’ve taken it too far.
In May 2021, reports emerged that Walt Disney World was implementing a new anti-racism training course for its park employees – which asked them to complete a ‘privilege checklist’ – but was canceled days later.
City-Journal’s Christopher F Rufo shared leaked documents about the ‘diversity and inclusion’ program, called Reimagine Tomorrow, to Twitter, explaining that it was set to teach staffers about ‘systematic racism,’ ‘white fragility,’ and ‘microaggressions.’
It encouraged its staff to ‘take ownership of educating themselves about structural anti-Black racism’ and asked white employees to ‘work through feelings of guilt, shame, and defensiveness to understand what is beneath them and what needs to be healed.’
Staff were also told to reject ‘equality,’ and instead strive for ‘equity,’ while ‘reflecting’ on America’s ‘racist infrastructure.’
After the documents were made public, the company was branded as the ‘wokest Place on Earth’ rather than the ‘happiest place on Earth’ by Twitter users.
The leaked training documents also included a how-to guide called 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice.
In May 2021, reports emerged that Walt Disney World was implementing a new anti-racism training course for its park employees – which asked them to complete a ‘privilege checklist’
City-Journal ‘s Christopher F Rufo shared leaked documents about the ‘diversity and inclusion’ program, called Reimagine Tomorrow, to Twitter
In March 2022, it was announced that staff members, as well as recordings throughout the parks, would no longer include ‘gendered greetings’ like ‘boys and girls’ or ‘ladies and gentleman.’
Instead, they opted for gender neutral terms like, ‘Hello, everyone,’ or, ‘Hello, friends.’
‘We don’t want to just assume because someone might be, in our interpretation, presenting as female, that they may not want to be called ‘princess,” Vivian Ware, Disney’s diversity and inclusion manager, said in a leaked conference call with employees.
‘So let’s think differently about how do we really engage with our guests in a meaningful and inclusive way that makes it magical and memorable for everyone.’
One year earlier, in April 2021, the brand announced on its blog that it was changing its rules to allow cast members to wear ‘gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles, and costume choices,’ while noting that ‘the magic they make must include everyone.’
In January 2022, Disney revealed that its upcoming live-action remake of Snow White will not feature the classic depiction of the central character’s seven companions as dwarves.
In October 2020, Disney also made a big move when it announced that it would be slapping racism warnings on a number of its decades-old movies as they were released on its streaming service, Disney+.
Movies that now come with an anti-racism warning include 1970 musical comedy The Aristocats, 1955 canine love story Lady and the Tramp, and 1960 adventure Swiss Family Robinson.
Meanwhile, earlier this year Walt Disney World broke attraction numbers on the final day of operation of – fan favorite – Splash Mountain.
Thousands flocked to the attraction and were seen bottling the ride’s water as a keepsake, while others were seen selling it online for hundreds of dollars.
The original ride’s ties to ‘Song of the South’ came under scrutiny from woke bosses at Disney amid ongoing efforts to become more progressive.
‘Song of the South’ stars James Baskett as Uncle Remus (pictured) and won an Oscar for best original song in 1948
A model of the revamped ride, which is based on the movie The Princess and The Frog
In 2020, the company announced that the ride would be getting a refresh based on the 2009 Disney animated which features the company’s first Black princess, Tiana, at both Disneyland in California and Magic Kingdom in Florida.
It all comes as Disney continues to suffer at boardroom level and faces a populist revolt led by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
CEO Bob Iger announced last month that he will lay off 7,000 employees in a ‘significant transformation’ to cut costs.
The job losses represent a little over three percent of Disney’s global workforce, and are likely to predominantly affect the entertainment and ESPN divisions, despite the company beating analysts’ expectations for the fourth quarter of 2022.
He also revealed plans to restructure the company, effectively eliminating the Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution group set up under his predecessor Bob Chapek.
The new structure will have only three divisions: Disney Entertainment — which will include film and TV assets as well as Disney+; ESPN — which will include ESPN and ESPN+; and Parks, Experiences and Products — which will include theme parks and the consumer products team.
Iger, 71, also issued a statement that he will step down in two years.
In response to the moves, activist investor billionaire Nelson Peltz, who had thrown his considerable wealth behind a campaign over the company’s wasted funds following a woke agenda, declared his proxy fight with Disney over.
Thursday morning, Peltz, 80, told CNBC’s ‘Squawk on the Street’ that ‘Disney plans to do everything we wanted them to do,’ calling the ending of his activist battle a ‘great win.
‘We wish the very best to Bob [Iger], this management team and the board. We will be watching. We will be rooting,’ said Peltz, who runs Trian Fund Management.
Iger’s news was also delivered via CNBC. He told the outlet his plan is ‘to stay here for two years, that’s what my contract says, that was my agreement with the board, and that is my preference.’
It all comes as Disney continues to suffer at boardroom level and faces a populist revolt led by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
A listing posted on Tuesday with the title ‘Disney SPLASH MOUNTAIN water LAST DAY OF RIDE’ has been put on auction it’s current bid at $202.50 with four bids placed so far
In January, Trian launched a proxy fight with Disney, pushing for Peltz to gain a seat on the company’s board of directors.
At the time, the firm said it owned about 9.4million shares valued at about $900million, which it accumulated several months before.
Peltz had previously taken a critical stance against Disney’s $71billion acquisition of Fox in 2019, as well as its failed succession planning that resulted in the ousting of Bob Chapek and second reign of Iger.
During the remainder of Iger’s tenure, he will be responsible for crafting a more solid succession plan than the one which left Chapek in place, only to oversee a period of turbulence for the company.