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Disney CEO finally confirms that 'Song of the South' won't be available on Disney+
via Clicky Sound / Twitter

When Disney launched its streaming service in November, there was a notable absence of its most controversial film, 1946's "Song of the South." The film hasn't been re-released in America since 1986 and was never appeared on home video in North America.

The film is a mix of live-action and animation and is best known for its Oscar-winning song "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah."

"Song of the South" tells the story of a young white boy (Bobby Driscoll) on a Georgia plantation who is ignored by his parents so he spends his time with a joyous servant, Uncle Remus (James Baskett). Throughout the film, Remus entertains the boy with whimsical slave-era stories about Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Brer Bear.

The stories were originally compiled by white Southern writer Joel Chandler Harris who has been criticized for profiting off the African-American folklore tradition.


The film's Disneyfied depiction of a plantation at some nebulous point in the late 1800s has been criticized for presenting "an idyllic, romanticized view of an American South that never was."

Here's a trailer from one of its re-releases.

Song of the South 1946 Trailer [digitally remastered]www.youtube.com

Folklorist Patricia A. Turner writes:

The days on the plantation located in 'the United States of Georgia' begin and end with unsupervised Blacks singing songs about their wonderful home as they march to and from the fields. … They provided no indication regarding the status of the Blacks on the plantation. Joel Chandler Harris set his stories in the post-slavery era, but Disney's version seems to take place during a surreal time when Blacks lived on slave quarters on a plantation, worked diligently for no visible reward and considered Atlanta a viable place for an old Black man to set out for.

While the film has only been available in the U.S. via bootlegs, Disney hasn't completely shied away from the film's characters altogether. The animated characters in the film, Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Brer Bear are all prominently featured on the Disney ride Splash Mountain.

However, Uncle Remus is nowhere to be seen.

via Justin Callaghan

Disney has gotten around racist depictions in its older films such as "Dumbo," and "Peter Pan," on Disney+ by labeling them with an advisory: "This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions."

However, it believes that "Song of the South" is too troubling to be released on the platform.

"I've felt, for as long as I've been CEO, that Song of the South – even with a disclaimer – was just not appropriate in today's world," Disney's CEO Bob Iger said to a shareholders meeting on Wednesday.

"Given the depictions in some of those films, to bring them out today without some form or another, without offending people. So we've decided not to do that," Iger added.

Iger's decision will no doubt anger some who have have pushed for the film's inclusion on the streaming service. They claim that Disney's attempts to distance themselves from the film are an example of political correctness run amok and that they should be able to appreciate a "film of its time."

But the argument that "Song of the South" was an innocent just a product of its era negates the fact that it was seen as racist even upon its original release.

The NAACP acknowledged "the remarkable artistic merit" of the film in 1946, but decried "the impression it gives of an idyllic master-slave relationship." It also received scathing reviews from white film critics in The New York Times and New Yorker.

Film critic Karina Longworth claims both reviewers accused Disney of "wishing the Emancipation Proclamation had never existed."

via YouTube

Disney is right in keeping the film off its streaming service. Making it available, especially to children, would only work to legitimize the film's racism. But does that mean the film should disappear forever?

Longworth, the host of the "You Must Remember This" podcast, recently produced a riveting six-part series on the film and its troubling history. She thinks it should be available, but only so we can learn from its history.

"If I was running Disney, I would release it within the context of a documentary or something like that, basically saying all of the things I'm saying in this podcast season," Longworth told Rolling Stone.

"I don't think it should necessarily just be released on Blu-Ray or whatever," she continued. "I think you do need to make a historical statement while you're making it available."

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The last thing children should have to worry about is where their next meal will come from. But the unfortunate reality is food insecurity is all too common in this country.

In an effort to help combat this pressing issue, KFC is teaming up with Blessings in a Backpack to provide nearly 70,000 meals to families in need and spread holiday cheer along the way.

The KFC Sharemobile, a holiday-edition charitable food truck, will be making stops at schools in Chicago, Orlando, and Houston in December to share KFC family meals and special gifts for a few select families to address specific needs identified by their respective schools.

These cities were chosen based on the high level of food insecurity present in their communities and hardships they’ve faced, such as a devastating hurricane season in Florida and an unprecedented winter storm in Houston. In 2021, five million children across the US lived in food-insecure households, according to the USDA.

“Sharing a meal with family or friends is a special part of the holidays,” said Nick Chavez, CMO of KFC U.S. “Alongside our franchisees, we wanted to make that possible for even more families this holiday season.”

KFC will also be making a donation to Blessings in a Backpack, a nonprofit that works to provide weekend meals to school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry.

“The generous donations from KFC could not have come at a better time, as these communities have been particularly hard-hit this year with rising food costs, inflation and various natural disasters,” Erin Kerr, the CEO of Blessings in a Backpack, told Upworthy. “Because of KFC’s support, we’re able to spread holiday cheer by donating meals for hunger-free weekends and meet each community’s needs,” Kerr said.

This isn’t the first time KFC has worked with Blessings in a Backpack. The fried chicken chain has partnered with the nonprofit for the last six years, donating nearly $1 million dollars. KFC employees also volunteer weekly to package and provide meals to students in Louisville, Kentucky who need food over the weekend.

KFC franchisees are also bringing the Sharemobile concept to life in markets across the country through local food donations and other holiday giveback moments. Ampex Brands, a KFC franchisee based in Dallas, recently held its annual Day of Giving event and donated 11,000 meals to school children in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

If you’d like to get involved, you can make a donation to help feed students in need at kfc.com/kfcsharemobile. Every bit helps, but a donation of $150 helps feed a student on the weekends for an entire 38-week school year, and a donation as low as $4 will feed a child for a whole weekend.

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In an emotional video to her fans, the 54-year-old French-Canadian singer apologized for taking so long to reach out and explained that her health struggles have been difficult to talk about.

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The medley that closes out the second side of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album is one of the most impressive displays of musicianship in the band’s storied career. It also provided the perfect send-off before the band’s official breakup months later, ending with the lyrics, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

In 1969, “Abbey Road” was the last record the group made together, although “Let it Be,” recorded earlier that year, was released in 1970.

At first, the medley was just a clever way for the band to use a handful of half-finished tunes, but when it came together it was a rousing, grandiose affair.

Arranged by Paul McCartney and producer George Martin, the medley weaves together five songs written by McCartney, "You Never Give Me Your Money," "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight” and "The End," and three by John Lennon, “Sun King," "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam."

Fifteen seconds after the medley and the album’s conclusion, there is a surprise treat, McCartney’s 22-second “Her Majesty,” which wound up on the record as an accident.

Jack Black and Kyle Gass, collectively known as Tenacious D, recently reimagined two of the songs in the medley, "You Never Give Me Your Money" and "The End," for acoustic guitars for a performance on SiriusXM's Octane Channel. Like everything with Tenacious D, it showed off the duo’s impressive musical chops as well as their fantastic sense of humor.

The truncated version of the medley was also a wonderful tribute to the incredible work the Beatles did 53 years ago.

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