Disneyland parks honor Black heritage with ‘Celebrate Soulfully’


Disney’s “Celebrate Soulfully” celebrates the heritage and culture of blacks through the music, art and cuisine of Disney Park.

This is an annual February event at Walt Disney World in Florida, arriving in Anaheim for the first time this month. On February 19th, music performances and special experiences are scheduled after February 26th.

“Celebrate Soulfully” is also part of Disney Parks’ “Reimagine Tomorrow” initiative, aimed at spotlighting underrated voices and secret stories.

“‘Celebrate Soulfully’ is about how to amplify our long-standing commitment to two things: inclusion and storytelling,” said Princeton Parker, a Disney spokesperson. “And I love storytelling companies. What we have the opportunity to do through events like” Celebrate Soulfully “is how to amplify those stories and get people to step into them. Is to understand what to invite to. And we do that through a variety of offerings, from food to art and, of course, music. “

Outdoor live at Downtown Disney! The stage will feature afternoon and evening performances of gospel music from local groups such as the Los Angeles-based Singers of Soul.

“Singers of Soul is a group I started in 2013,” said founder Dedrick Bonner. “We can do the most wonderful things and spread the power of music, joy and love together.”

Singers of Soul vocalist Joslynn James at Downtown Disney
A “Celebrate Soulfully” event celebrating a black heritage in music, art and culture at Disneyland, Downtown Disney and California Adventure Park.

(Sara Mosqueda)

The group show on February 19th included a cappella performance and a “Joyful, Joyful” version of “Tenshi ni Love Song 2” in 1993, and the expression became widespread.

“It’s very important to represent the history of blacks, everything we represent as blacks, and what we represent, especially in this climate and region,” said Morgan Williams, vocalist of the Singers of Soul. Says. “I wish I had seen something like this when I was a kid. I’m always happy to see little black girls and little black boys looking at us and seeing what we’re doing. “

Joslynn James, vocalist of the Singers of Soul, said their music goes beyond the black family.

“This month is Black History Month, but when you see it literally spreading love throughout the park and how it affects everyone … it’s really magical,” she said.

In addition to music, Post21 has been added to Downtown Disney. This is a new kiosk that offers products that anticipate the design of black-owned businesses and is an example of a resort’s long-term respect for black heritage.

Disney also introduced the art experience from chalk mural painter Marcella Sweatshirts. Marcella Sweatshirts produce different pieces each week on the Downtown Disney sidewalk. Swett previously worked with Disney to make a copy of Black Panther’s artwork and master, but she was given the artistic freedom of this project.

Chalk mural by downtown Disney artist Marcella Swett.

Chalk mural by downtown Disney artist Marcella Swett. Swett is part of the “Celebrate Soulfully” event, which celebrates the black heritage of Disney Park’s music, art and culture.

(Sara Mosqueda)

“I like to make lots of symbols, I like to tell stories in art,” Sweat said. “Each piece tells a story. Of course, it’s related to African-American history and black history.”

On February 19, her mural depicts a long, detailed braid girl surrounded by plants and butterfly seeds.

“What I wanted to do was talk about braids in African culture,” Sweat said. “Many people are unaware of the story of hiding seeds and knitting them into braids when slaves are sent elsewhere, so when they reach their destination, they’re like a secret garden. I knew I could plant things. They were nutritious. “

Swett said the dialogue that her murals create is important as guests are approaching her to talk about her art.

“I take this opportunity to speak for me. People are amazing. They gave me a voice to talk about this,” Swett said. “I’m here and telling the history of African Americans. I’m a testament to resilience and strength, and what my ancestors have experienced.”

Swett’s previous murals included depictions of African textiles, patterns and afro hairstyles. Sweat said he was talking to guests about the Crown Act, a California law that prohibits discrimination based on hairstyles and hair textures.

Installation on the history of gospel music "Celebrate the gospel" At Disneyland.

An installation on the history of gospel music at Disneyland’s “Celebrate Gospel”. Disney Parks hosts the Celebrate Soulfully event, which celebrates the black heritage of music, art and culture.

(Sara Mosqueda)

Inside Disneyland Park, Parker said storytelling would continue with “celebrating gospel.”

“Gospel music has had a very strong impact on the story of the black Americans in this country and our evolution to this day,” Parker said.

The Fantasyland Theater will feature gospel performances by community groups such as Yorba Linda’s Friendship Baptist Church Choir, Inglewood’s KJHL Radio Free Voice, and award-winning headliners such as the Kierra Sheard. Scheduled performers include contemporary Christian Chicago-based artist Jonathan McReynolds and contemporary gospel artist Mali Music, a blend of gospel, R & B and hip-hop music.

An installation on the history of gospel music is also included with the show, and you can note the wall of appreciation as well as the guests’ appreciation for adding it to the wall.

Gratitude wall at "Celebrate the gospel" At Disneyland.

Disneyland’s “Celebrate Gospel” gratitude wall. Disney Parks hosts the Celebrate Soulfully event, which celebrates the black heritage of music, art and culture.

(Sara Mosqueda)

Jazz performances take place in the lobby of Disney’s Grand California Hotel, followed by music every night. The hotel’s Hearthstone Lounge special menu offers wines from Black’s vineyards and breweries such as the McBride Sisters Collection, Brown Estate Napa Valley and Crown & Hops Brewing Company.

Disney California Adventure Park will introduce a longer-term expression in the form of “Wakanda Warrior” at the Avengers headquarters. This is a show featuring Dora Milaje, the bodyguard of Black Panther. The Wakanda tribe is fictitious, but the message of the female warrior is sympathetic to the guests.

“I thought it was a powerful message that everyone needs today. I’m emotional,” said Victoria Scholerman, an Oregon resident who visited the park for the second time. “As a teacher, I teach third grade, and I feel that everyone needs a message like this to build their strength and self-confidence.”

Young guest watching gospel music playing at "Celebrate the gospel" At Disneyland.

A young guest is watching a gospel music performance at Disneyland’s “Celebrate Gospel”.
Disney Parks hosts the Celebrate Soulfully event, which celebrates the black heritage of music, art and culture.

(Sara Mosqueda)

Events like this connect people, Parker said.

“These events are for our company to talk to communities and invite people who are not in those communities to learn, live and celebrate the value of culture.”

Parker also said he was happy to be involved in advancing a story that would connect strongly with guests.

“There are two important Disney moments that happen to many people, the first when they see the brand,” Parker said. “It’s the first time to ride an attraction. The first time I’ve seen my favorite Disney movie. But for me, the second and often more powerful moment is when you see yourself in the brand.”

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