Excitement is in the air for a myriad of reasons! It’s Black History Month! It’s the season of love! And it’s the day that Disney+ finally added one of the best musical adaptations of Cinderella to Its lineup! Yes! After months of speculation, wishful thinking, and prayer, the 1997 version of Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella has finally been added to the streaming service!
For a few years and most recently as of last year, the question that has been on everyone’s tongue was, why wasn’t this version of Cinderella available on any streaming platform, especially Disney+? But now, on February 12, 2021, 24 years after its original airing on ABC, the world has the opportunity to relive the magic. And let’s not even forget that this not just a win for the Cinderella fans or the Starz (Brandy’s fans).
This is a win for black excellence! This is a win for the culture! This is a win for the late cast members, the incomparable Whitney Houston, who starred as Cinderella’s fairy godmother, and Natalie Desselle Reid, who craftily acted as one of Cinderella’s stepsisters, Minerva. But most importantly, it’s a win for hope and the impossible becoming possible!
Twenty-four years ago, I was 10 when this movie aired during prime time on November 2, 1997. I remember how mesmerized I was to see the colors and the dancing! I was in awe of the singing and movement. I was waiting at the edge of my set after each commercial break and tease. But what resonated with me the most was the representation.
Witnessing a black princess, with braids, dance around my television felt normal. Even though a black princess’s portrayal on tv or within the franchise hadn’t been done before, it seemed like an ever-present reality. At 10, I wasn’t paying attention to the multicultural cast because it didn’t feel or look odd. I knew it was unique but, it hadn’t fully resonated with me.
Fast forward 23 years later (2020), after much buzz and talk, I longed to see the movie again and share it with my three-year-old daughter (at the time), who adores Brandy as much as I do. So after ordering the DVD copy from Amazon, I surprised her with it one evening. And as expected, she loved it! For months, we watched this movie over and over until she could sing along to the songs.
For her, this is the ONLY version of Cinderella she knows. But what was also influential for me was rediscovering just how magical this musical was. Seeing Whitney and Brandy on screen together as they sang the song Impossible made me reflect on my dreams. The lyrics and dialogue hit differently at almost 34 and as a mother. Everything about the story of Cinderella seems impossible until it happens. But, she didn’t waver in her beliefs that her dreams could come true.
The world needs to be reminded of this. After all of the calamity, turmoil, and life changes of 2020, people need to feel hope. They need to understand that dreams coming true is not just a cliché statement. It’s up to us to fuel and nurture the ideals we hold within us. After all, it’s a reason why you have the dreams you have. And after we have experienced those dreams, we have the responsibility of inspiring others to keep going towards theirs.
So, what seemed like an impossible feat was accomplished. It’s my hope and prayer that more content stems from this release. I think merchandise should reflect this version, and I hope the soundtrack can be released one day. But until then, I took the creative liberty of modifying my daughter’s costume for this auspicious occasion. Happy streaming, and remember it’s possible! 💜💜💜✨
Last night at the stroke of midnight, singers Todrick Hall and Brandy decided to break the Internet and send many into a fanciful fit with the release of a modern-day rendition of the 1997 Cinderella Classic! The little over a five-minute featurette featured an ageless Brandy reprising her role as Cinderella. At the same time, Todrick occupied dual roles as the prince and joining Cinderella in the beloved Impossible duet.
The icing on the proverbial cake was the addition of the remaining cast members singing Impossible and with Queen Constantina herself (Whoopi Goldberg) inviting everyone to head over to Disney+ to stream the movie. As I watched the feature, tears began to free-fall down my face. Between the modernized music and seeing Brandy in the blue ball gown, it was truly magical.
If I had to give my response a formal explanation, I would say that it was evident that Brandy still radiates the graciousness, dreams, and excitement that she had all those years ago. It’s highly inspiring to see and witness. To check out the new version, check out the video below. And don’t forget to stream #Cinderella1997 on Disney+!
Courtesy of YouTube: Todrick Hall Channel