By Brian Steinberg, February 1, 2022 4:00pm PT (Variety)
Disney is ready to launch “Rise Up, Sing Out,” a short-form animated musical series that aims to deliver inspiring. empowering and optimistic messages about culture and celebrating differences. The eight-episode series, which is executive produced by Ahmir ‘”Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter of the Roots, will be available on Disney Plus starting Wednesday, February 2, but the but the first episode will be presented on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.
Questlove and Black Thought produced the music for the series and executive producers of the series, but they appear in it as well, depicted as animated characters.
The series, which will touch upon themes like diversity, inclusion, kindness and self-expression, was produced in response to parents who have increasingly asked Disney Junior for entertainment content to aid them in talking to children about respect towards others. Disney found academic research showing children as young as three become aware of differences between people and are capable of discussing those distinctions. One episode celebrates Black hair, while another explores names that can be mispronounced or stigmatized.
“The ‘Rise Up, Sing Out’ shorts touch on a lot of real-world issues, especially for young Black kids, that just weren’t talked about when we were growing up. The beautiful thing about these shorts is that not only are they going to provide young kids the proper language to talk to their friends and family about some of the things that might be bothering them, but it’s also going to give parents the tools on how to respond,” Questlove and Black Thought said in a prepared statement. “We feel this is the perfect moment and the perfect time for us to put this project out into the world to plant a seed about kindness that will hopefully have a lasting impact for generations to come.”
Latoya Raveneau, director of “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, is also an executive produced of the series, which counts Lion Forge Animation as a collaborator.
“We’re proud to introduce these entertaining and inspiring animated shorts that reinforce the fundamental values of respect and kindness, which we created in response to parents today who are increasingly asking for media content that supports young kids’ self-esteem and helps them grow up happy, empathetic and respectful of others,” said Joe D’Ambrosia, senior vice president of original programming and general manager of Disney Junior, in a statement. “Bigotry, bias and stereotyping aren’t simple topics for anyone to tackle, but the talented creative team did a thoughtful job in delivering memorable songs and stories that reflect the opportunity storytellers have to help parents as they raise healthy, thoughtful and well-rounded kids.”
Walt Disney Records will release the music from “Rise Up, Sing Out” on Friday, Feb. 4.