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Whoopi Goldberg Wants Disney to Bring Back ‘Song of the South’

Song of the South and Whoopi Goldberg
Images Credit: Disney / Canva

Splash Mountain is gone, and with it, the last remaining piece of Disney’s Song of the South (1946) in pop culture.

Amid cries for its removal, many others fought for its survival. The arguments were intense on both sides. Pro-removal advocates argued that the film had racist undertones and should not be celebrated. Pro-Splash Mountain advocates argued the ride itself was not racist, and many disagreed that the film was racist.

splash mountain

Credit: Mike Buchawiecki, Flickr

Related: Splash Mountain’s Emotional Final Ride Went to a Very Special Group

Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, and Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, is being refurbished to a theme following The Princess and the Frog (2009). The new attraction, called Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, is scheduled to open summer of 2024.

Disney Legend Whoopi Goldberg

Another voice has emerged in the debate: Disney Legend Whoopi Goldberg. While she did not give an opinion on the ride, she had plenty to say about the film it was based on.

She believes that the film should be available to view and purchase. “I’m trying to find a way to get people to start having conversations about bringing Song of the South back, so we can talk about what it was and where it came from and why it came out,” she said in an interview.

disney's song of the south

Credit: Disney

Related: Is Whoopi Goldberg Quitting ‘The View’?

The film, which Disney has chosen not to release for sale or streaming, has an important place in film history.

‘Song of the South’ History

James Baskett, who played Uncle Remus, was the first African American male ever to win an Academy Award. Hattie McDaniel, who holds the title of the first-ever African American to receive an Acadamy Award (for her work in Gone With the Wind), was also in Song of the South.

Both Bassett and McDaniel expressed support for the film. Baskett said, “I believe that certain groups are doing my race more harm in seeking to create dissension than can ever possibly come out of the Song of the South.” McDaniel’s sentiments were similar, saying, “If I had for one moment considered any part of the picture degrading or harmful to my people, I would not have appeared therein.”

song of the south uncle remus

Credit: Disney

Related: Watch Disney’s ‘Song of the South’ With This Service

While the film’s stars felt the movie wasn’t racist, that wasn’t Goldberg’s point. She felt that hiding the movie equated to erasing history.

She feels strongly that the film, which is part live-action and part animation, should be seen so that its origins can be discussed (it was initially a written compilation of African American folktales) and also so that there can be a conversation about the times and attitudes during which the film was produced.

Whoopi Goldberg and Disney

But will The Walt Disney Company listen to its very own Disney Legend, Whoopi Goldberg?

Whoopi Goldberg

Credit: ABC

Related: Whoopi Goldberg Confirms ‘Sister Act 3’ Script Is Near Completion!

Whoopi Goldberg has had a notable relationship with Disney over the years, primarily through her involvement in various Disney projects, particularly in film and television.

  • Sister Act Franchise: One of Goldberg’s most famous roles with Disney is in the Sister Act (1992) franchise, where she portrays the lead character, Deloris Van Cartier/Sister Mary Clarence. The success of these films contributed significantly to Goldberg’s status as a Hollywood icon.
  • Voice Acting: Goldberg has also lent her voice to several Disney animated projects. One notable example is her role as Shenzi, the hyena, in Disney’s animated classic The Lion King (1994).
  • Disney Park Appearances: Goldberg has appeared at Disney theme parks for various events and promotions. Her presence has helped to reinforce the connection between her and Disney in the public eye.
  • Cultural Impact: Goldberg’s association with Disney has not only benefited the company in terms of her contributions to their projects but has also added to her own cultural impact and recognition as a versatile entertainer.

Overall, Whoopi Goldberg’s relationship with Disney has been multifaceted, from her contributions to their projects to her advocacy for changes within the company’s content portfolio.

Is Whoopi right? Should Disney rerelease the film, perhaps on its Disney+ streaming platform? Let us know in the comments. 

About Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins has been visiting Disney Parks since she was 2 years old and loves sharing her Disney adventures with the world. She likes to say Disney is in her blood and writing is in her bones — so any time she has the opportunity to combine these loves she is one happy camper! She has a deep abiding love for Epcot and as a die hard Star Wars fan has a serious love for Hollywood Studios as well. When she isn't exploring or writing about Disney Parks, Jill is homeschooling her 8 year old son, playing with her brand new baby son, or pretending to be a farmer on her family homestead (despite being unable to keep even a cactus alive). Find Jill on Instagram @minnieonmain.

13 comments

  1. I agree. Song of the South was a great movie. It is part of our history like Aunt Gemima was. Learn from things DON’T erase them.

  2. I agr it wasa marvelous movies and I loved it was a kid! Id luke to see it come back and Id like to know wht cimmentary Whoppie will add to it. BRING IT BACK!!!

  3. I remember the movie as a child. It was a beautiful movie and should never have been dismissed as being racisst. I often sing Zip a De Do Dah! Whoooie is right..bring it back. Additionally, Splash Mountain should never have been changed, ridiculous!

  4. Whoopi’s is right…BRING IT BACK!!

  5. That’s exactly why I canceled my Disney plus subscription…I loved song of the south, and at 70 years of age, should be able to chose what I want to watch!

  6. Bring it back. It is a historical film that should be available for the public and future generations. Let’s not hide the past but view it as a learning experience. I own a pirated copy of the film and love the story line.

  7. Songs of the South, what a great movie. So much to learn and enjoy through the African American Folklore. So sad so many got on the rumble bus of destruction undermining culture instead of enjoying the differences! Whoopi is right, bring it back. Open the doors of cultural and historical conversations and experience the diversity.

  8. I agree with Whoppi

  9. I have the movie and watch it. There is nothing wrong with it. We can learn from history, not hide it. What happened back then is what happened….. sorry but true. Ask the American Natives… do we hide them? No. We talk about it, like we should.

  10. I completely agree with Whoopi ! Yes, I am from the same age group, and I fully grew up with Disney in my life, and I loved the very sweet movie, and I loved Splash Mountain. The Walt Disney dream seems to be disappearing bit by bit at Disney World. So many of the original rides and features are part of the history of us, yes, but it is also the history and magic of Walk Disney! It’s okay to continue to add to the magic, but PLEASE STOP TAKING THINGS AWAY THAT MADE DISNEYLAND AND ESPECIALLY DISNEY WORLD WHAT IT WAS ORIGINALLY!!!

  11. We have read and enjoyed, and play acted the Remus stories for years with our children and grandchildren. There are so many life lessons within the stories for all people. The portrayal of enslaved people is false as to their attitude towards life and their situations but at the same time, I have spoken to first generation freed people and their relatives did make the best of a bad situation. (I have also spoke with concentration relatives and survivors describing the same best of a bad situation). Movies are generally created as showing the best of any situation hence “happy endings.” Unless movies are documenting reality, they are “works of fiction with no intended representation to real life” according to the fine print at the end of movie credits. So why are people expecting anything different and being offended by any content? I choose not to watch or purchase movies that offend me due to language, portrayals, violence or sex. I don’t intrude on other’s choices or try to change how movies are created; why does anyone want to interfere on other’s choices?

  12. It is too late. Whoopi should have voiced this opinion back in 2020 when all is this got started. I love the ride and song.

  13. Please bring this film back! The African American actors in “Song of the South” were nothing, in real life, like the characters they portrayed. It took real talent, personal integrity and great stamina to take those roles. Ms. McDaniel and Mr. Baskett opened the
    doors and kept those doors open for some of the most acclaimed actors appearing in later films. They are heroes who should be celebrated and known to future generations. History should not be cancelled. No one should decide what is appropriate for others to enjoy; allow people to decide for themselves if this is a film to watch. Please bring this film back!

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