Lilo and Stitch (Live Version): What is this accusation of “colorism” affecting the project?
Disney has a project going on, that of a live remake of the famous 2002 cartoon Lilo and Stitch. But a controversy surrounds this project, that of “colorism”.
Lilo and Stitch was 76th animated feature film and the 42th “Animated Classic” released by Disney Studios in 2002. The story is about a six-year-old Hawaiian girl who adopts a strange animal, a little blue alien she befriends, Stitch. Beautiful story of friendship until the day aliens land on earth with the desire to catch Stitch… From now on, Disney is about making an animated film in real action, as it was already done for Beauty and the Beast etc The Lion King. A film directed by Dean Fleischer Camp, filmed in Hawaii on the island of Oahu.
On April 14, the controversy arose over the choice of actress to play Nani, Sydney’s Elisabeth Agudong, and the fact that the actress was too fair skinned to play the role. Brief return to the character of Nani: she is the big sister of Lilo, whose role is played by Maia Kealoha. Nani is around 19 years old and she is the one who has been raising Lilo as legal guardian since her parents died in a car accident. The choice of the American actress to play Nani has therefore caused controversy: her physical appearance does not correspond to the original character of the cartoon. Critics accused the production of favoring lighter skin tones over dark-skinned people, a form of discrimination based on skin tone called “colorism”. In addition, the decision to cast a non-Hawaiian actress for the role of Nani has also been criticized for whitewashing.
CNN has collected the opinions of residents of Hawaii, the location where the story takes place, on the controversy surrounding the upcoming film’s casting. OniMasai Connor, one of the interviewees, shared his perspective on the matter:
« My issue with this cast is the fact that we live in a racist society that values fair skin. This casting contributes to the invisibility in a way (dark skin) “
OniMasai Connor said: ” Too often and in all types of movies we see stories inspired by black people and played by light skinned actors. ».
This controversy is not unique: when Princess Tiana appeared in the trailer Ralph breaks the internetIn 2018, Disney fans were shocked to discover that the character had become lighter-skinned and her frizzy hair had been transformed into looser curls. As Disney’s first black princess, this edit was met with some backlash. In 2019, Disney was accused white laundry for casting Naomi Scott, a multiracial actress of Indian descent, as Princess Jasmine.
So far, neither Sydney Elisabeth Agudong nor the controversy has responded…