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Disney Has Missed the Mark With This “Insulting” Black History Month Offering

shocked simba, frustrated tiana

Recently, the Walt Disney Company announced the limited-time offerings debuting at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort and commemorating Black History Month.

However, some fans have just realized that one of these offerings is…not like the others, to put it lightly.

Disney zodiac

Credit: Disney

READ MORE: Disney Parks Celebrates Black History Month With New Marvel Meet and Greet

If you were to ask s Disney fan, “Who is your favorite black Disney character?” there may be varying answers.

Many would probably say Princess Tiana from the Princess and the Frog (2009) is their favorite black Disney character. Joe Gardner from Soul (2020) and T’Challa from Black Panther (2018) would likely be very popular answers as well.

Other answers could include Ariel from the upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid (2023), Penny Proud from The Proud Family series, Frozone from The Incredibles series, Dr. Facilier and Mama Odie from the Princess and the Frog, Finn from the Star Wars films, etc.

But if somebody’s answer was Simba, the animated lion from The Lion King (1994), you’d probably be a little confused at first.

lion king screencap

Credit: Disney

READ MORE: Disneyland Resort Has Exciting Plans for Black History Month and Beyond

Although Simba is technically an African character, he’s a lion, an animal to whom race and skin color cannot be applied. Not only that, but white actors voice both versions of the character from the animated film, so it would appear that the character isn’t even black-coded.

Despite this, it didn’t stop Disneyland from offering a Simba Popcorn Bucket as a part of the Black History Month foodie lineup, and fans have pointed out how strange this decision is.

One Reddit user writes,

Simba is a lion voiced by a couple white guys lol, that is an interesting way to celebrate. I know that’s not the case in the Broadway show (edit or the live action), and he’s technically an African character, but this still just seems like a bit of a funny choice.

Reddit user u/BroadwayCatDad writes,

100% some white person decided this was ok. Let’s slap a Simba on a donut and call it Black History. I guess the Frederick Douglass Croissant was already taken.

The same user also wrote in a separate comment, “Simba isn’t black. He’s an animal. This is insulting.
simba popcorn buckets

Left: Black History Month Simba Popcorn Bucket (Credit: Disney). Right: Animal Kingdom Simba Popcorn Bucket (Credit: @rose_red_disney on Instagram)

Reddit user u/pixtopher added,

Nothing says black history like Johnathan Taylor Thomas! Lol geeeeez whoever approved this is a moron.

Commentary aside, this Simba Popcorn Bucket is nearly identical to the popcorn bucket Animal Kingdom offered a couple of years ago. The only difference is the carrying strap, which references Disneyland’s Tale of the Lion King show instead of Animal Kingdom.

Were these simply the leftover popcorn buckets? Or did Disney decide to manufacture more Simba Popcorn Buckets under the guise of Black History Month? In any case, it looks and feels lazy on Disney’s part.

soul cupcake and tiana banana pudding

Left: Soul Cupcake. Right: Tiana Banana Pudding. Credit: Disney

READ MORE: ‘Little Mermaid’ Director Says There Was “No Agenda” When Casting Black Actress As Ariel

At this point, we’d like to note that Walt Disney World Resort is offering cookies decorated with pictures of Joe Gardner and Tiana, so it’s not like Disney didn’t create any character imagery to celebrate Black History Month.

It would appear that the only character imagery Disneyland is receiving for Black History Month is of Simba.

About Isabella Reimer

Isabella Reimer grew up visiting Walt Disney World and relocated to Central Florida to be even closer to The Most Magical Place on Earth. She earned her Bachelor’s from Florida State University, where she studied Creative Writing and Women’s Studies. Her biggest hobby is bonding with the ikran at Avatar Flight of Passage, and her retirement plan includes becoming the 1,000 Happy Haunt of the Haunted Mansion.