Positive representation in the media has always been a struggle for black people in America and Europe. Things have gotten better in recent years in America as people of color have taken on more executive roles in Hollywood. Such changes have been slow in Europe, especially in places like the Netherlands. Nonetheless, there have been major changes in the last few months. The casting of Surinamese Reggae Artist Kenny B in Disney’s dutch version of ”Soul”, is one of them.
Kenny B will be vocalizing the character Joe Gardner, who Jamie Foxx will vocalize in the US version of the movie. Both men will be the first black lead in a Disney Pixar movie for their respective regions.
The Following is a translated Synopsis for Soul via Disney.NL:
What actually makes you you? In November, Pixar Animation Studios' brand new movie 'Soul' introduces Joe Gardner. Joe is a high school music teacher and gets the chance to play in the best jazz club in town. One little accident, however, lands him in The Great Before, a magical place where new souls get their personalities, mannerisms, and interests before going to Earth. Determined to return to his old life, Joe enlists the help of the wise soul 22, who thinks all this human stuff is weird. While Joe wants to show 22 what's so great about life, he may discover answers to some of life's questions.
In the past, black dutch people have had to rely on American TV to see someone that looks like them on television. This has since started a movement of black dutch people creating their own media content and paths for themselves in the Dutch entertainment business.
Recently, Omroep X, a media startup has taken matters into their own hands by creating a platform for diverse representation on Dutch Television. According to Trouw.NL, Omroep X acquired 50,000 members, which fulfills one of the most important conditions for entering the Dutch public broadcasting system. Change may not happen overnight for back people but, collectively we are moving mountains.
Interested in learning more about Kenny B and or Omroep? Click the Links Below:
Also, if you're a Dutch Speaker and wish to watch the Dutch Version of “SOUL” simply change the settings for the movie to Nederlands.