Disney Teams with The Roots for Animated Series Teaching Toddlers About Racism and Social Justice

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 01: Questlove and Black Thought perform at the opening reception for "Play It Loud: Instruments Of Rock & Roll" exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on April 01, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Members of the Grammy-winning rap group The Roots are teaming up with Disney Junior for several animated short films aimed at teaching kids aged 2 to 7 about race, racism, and social justice issues.

The project, entitled Rise Up, Sing Out, is set to be executive produced by The Roots members Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter.

“We hope these shorts will encourage the young audience to recognize and celebrate our differences as human beings while learning the tools to navigate real-world issues of racial injustice,” Thompson and Trotter said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.

They added that their hope is to “empower and uplift the future generations in the way we know best, through music.”

Disney Junior general manager and senior vice president Joe D’Ambrosia, added that they recognize that children are “experiencing a multitude of feelings around what’s happening in our world today” and the new project is aimed at helping parents discuss “sensitive issues around race” with their children.

D’Ambrosia also said that the series of short cartoons will give parents “the tools and knowledge to address these important topics with their preschoolers in an age-appropriate manner through music and relatable kid experiences.”

An activist group called The Conscious Kid will consult on the project, Disney Junior said. The organization describes itself as being “dedicated to equity and promoting healthy racial identity development in youth.”

Rise Up, Sing Out may debut across all Disney Junior platforms as early as the end of this year.

The announcement comes on the heels of controversy over leaked documents showing Disney promoting critical race theory to its employees, pushing the notion that a long history of “systemic racism” exists in Americas. The company has become increasingly political, publicly supporting with the Black Lives Matter movement. Disney has remained silent, however, on its business in China and that communist regimes human rights atrocities.

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