An episode of Disney Plus’ newly premiered children’s musical series Rise Up, Sing Out, features a song aimed at educating children about the concept of microaggressions.
Debuting to the streaming service on February 2nd, Rise Up, Sing Out is “a series of animated, music-based shorts that are designed to provide an inspiring and empowering message about race, culture, and community, celebrating difference, and providing a framework for conversation.”
Created by The Roots founding musicians Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Rise Up, Sing Out’s musical numbers center around such universally understood themes as encouraging positivity and self-appreciation as presented through a primarily black-centered lens.
To that end, one song featured in the series’ eight episode premiere season centers around teaching the critical race theory-based concept of microaggressions.
Titled “Speak Up!,” Rise Up, Sing Out’s third episode begins with a dark-skinned character, Gabriel, being dropped off at school by his mother, whereupon he’s told by a white student, “Hey, Gabriel, I didn’t know that was your mom. Your skin is so much darker than hers.”
“Hold it, did that comment make you feel uncomfortable?,” the series’ lead character, a young black girl named Taniya, suddenly interjects. “That’s a micro-aggression!”
“A micro-aggression is when someone says or does something that makes you feel bad / Sometimes just because of your race,” Taniya sings, her added caveat muddying the definition of what constitutes such an act, ascribing a specific racist intent to what was once defined as an unintentional action. “But you know what? He’s wrong! You should be proud of your skin. / It’s what makes you you.”
Donning a band conductors hat, Taniya continues, “I know just how you feel, lonely sad and blue / He said that awful thing and you don’t know what to do / That’s not okay to say about your beautiful skin / To find your voice, see the power within.”
“Speak up! Speak up! Because you got something to say,” declares the chorus. “Speak up! Speak up! Or it’s okay to walk away.”
The song’s first chorus then gives way to an interlude, wherein a white woman with red hair – seen throughout the series as a passively racist ‘white person’ – runs up to another one of Taniya’s dark skinned friends, Amelia, and proceeds to touch the young girl’s hair uninvited.
“Ooh, I’ve gotta feel your hair,” she says. “It’s such an unusual tеxture.”
Rushing to Amelia’s side, Taniya declares, “We know just how you feel and it wasn’t okay / The way she touched your hair and didn’t give you a say / We wish she didn’t do that to your awesome hair / Allow us to make it perfectly clear,” before the chorus is repeated.
Finally, the song turns to a children’s soccer game, where upon hearing a young black kid, Klingston, call for the ball, a girl asks him, “Hey, Kingston, why do you talk like that? You don’t sound like the other Black kids I know.”
“We wish she hadn’t said that, the way you speak is flawless,” counters Taniya and her friends as the song draws to a close. “We’re here to help you, join us in this chorus and speak up! Speak up! Let her know just how it is! Speak up! Speak up! We can change the narrative!”
You can watch the song here:
Disney just released a new series called “Rise Up Sing Out.” Here’s a sample where they teach about “micro-aggressions” pic.twitter.com/8CykmkWrZ2
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) February 7, 2022
What do you make of Rise Up, Sing Out’s micoaggression-centered episode? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!