“We don’t talk about Bruno. No. No. We don’t talk about Bruno… BUT!”
Almost daily, Encanto lyrics dance down my office hallway. Grown adults sing and dance to the number 1 song on the Billboard charts. It seems everyone IS talking about Bruno, as well as, the entire cast of Disney’s Encanto.
Encanto, which means “enchantment” in Spanish, has done just that, sprinkling pixie dust over audiences world-wide since its release on Nov 24, 2022. In fact, according to Insider it has grossed over $228 million world-wide ($93 million US) to date. “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” surpassed Frozen’s “Let It Go” as the most successful Disney song in history. And now it has been nominated for three Academy Awards.
So…why is everyone singing the songs, making TikTok videos and talking about Encanto?
1. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s genius wins again!
He’s been called the “Shakespeare of our generation.” After the success of Hamilton, In the Heights, and Vivo it’s no wonder the lyrical genius has captivated us yet again with his hip-hop rhymes, storytelling and now Colombian rhythms.
Miranda has a way of using entertainment to create a deeply meaningful experience where time and again those who witness it walk away feeling seen, known, and inspired. Encanto falls right in line with these sentiments. This film fills a void during a time when people are searching for their own purpose and personal significance.
2. Encanto is based in reality, not fairytale.
Of course, there’s magic (I mean it is a Disney movie), but the story isn’t about a beautiful princess, handsome prince, and mythical creature. It’s about a family that in many ways resembles our own. It’s relatable and easily applicable. As the story unfolds, one begins to identify with specific characters in the film, highlighting the fact that everyone has a gift to offer. But sometimes we become trapped by the gift. Click the link below for a full list of characters & to see which one best describes YOU!
3. The cast resembles the characters.
There’s no denying the powerful impact of seeing someone who looks like you physically represented. Encanto didn’t only create one or two characters. It provided an entire family with members who mirror our own beautiful broad spectrum of brown and black. And for the first time, the cast of actors who voiced the characters were entirely LatinX. Meaning THEY got to narrate characters who looked like themselves for the first time!
4. Representation Matters: Physically & Emotionally
Like the Madrigal family, many families reflect a rainbow of skin tones, hair colors and textures. Each person brings their own unique beauty to the family. I’m from an interracial family. My dad looked like Felix. His brother is more like Camilo, and his sister resembles Pepa. Then, there’s me. I’m in the middle, like Doloros with my curls piled high on my head.
People of color are seeing themselves physically represented in an animated movie…as a person…for the ENTIRE film! TikTok is full of videos, people of all ages side by side with Encanto characters who mirror their own features.
They even developed software that enabled the animators to accurately create the various hair textures!
Emotionally, the film connects with people as they see pieces of their own stories portrayed. Parts of themselves they’ve never shared. As a result, people feel seen and understood, many for the first time. Even more, there’s a collectiveness in knowing you’re not alone.
When you see yourself portrayed both physically AND emotionally, you feel seen, valued, and understood. You matter.
5. Encanto is a celebration of culture.
Latin families are expressive, loud, colorful, loyal, and loving. If Love is one bookend of the family dynamic, Music is the other. Whether your family is from Spain, the Caribbean, Mexico, South / Central America or beyond, music almost always fills our homes. Acoustic guitars come alive while someone taps on the clave and another beats out a conga rhythm on the table. Soon everyone is dancing because regardless of age. Music makes our feet come alive.
6. English and Spanish are both highlighted throughout the film.
Many LatinX families are bilingual, at times using both languages in the same sentence. Disney not only used both languages within the film, the song, “Dos Oruguitas,” is sung completely in Spanish. While not the most popular song, it holds the deepest meaning in the film, telling the full story of how the family came to be. Heart-wrenchingly beautiful, it is now nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song. If it wins, it will be the first Spanish song to do so.
7. We’re invited to lay down our load.
Encanto provides us with the invitation we’re waiting for – to lay down our load, that “thing” which holds us captive and freely be ourselves.Tweet
Life is heavy. Over the past two years, it’s been excessively so with little reprieve. Collectively, we’re tired, exhausted, weary. We’re ready to rest and look ahead. Encanto provides us with the invitation we’re waiting for – to lay down our load, that “thing” which holds us captive and freely be ourselves. It also invites us to allow others to help, be open to honest vulnerability and make space for healing to begin. Because in the end, we all long to know our lives matters, that others cared and that we are more than our gifts. The need to be strong, perfect, hidden in the shadows, or something / someone we’re not is gone.
We are all broken, imperfect people just trying to do our best. Which is exactly why we need one another. We can’t mend what we’re not willing to acknowledge is in fact broken. We can’t rebuild a family without a willingness to tackle the hard questions and maybe a few hiding “Brunos”. But…if we’re willing…beauty is waiting for us on the other side.
We can’t mend what we’re not willing to acknowledge is in fact broken.Tweet
Subscribe today for access to my NEW Family Movie Night List with Conversation Starters. This list of multiethnic tv shows & movies will give you the tools you need to begin a conversation in your home around race & give your Mixed Race student(s) space to share about their experiences. RELEASING MARCH 1, 2022!
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