Black Thought and Questlove (Photo courtesy @iamsuede)

By AFRO Staff

Amid the death of Black Americans at the hands of police and other socially divisive issues worldwide, many parents grapple with ways to understand and help their children navigate those thorny topics. 

Disney Junior—home to the #1 preschool network—announced May 18 its new animated short series “Rise Up, Sing Out” that would help to guide their young viewers through those issues. The entertainment hub will team up with Questlove and Black Thought of The Roots for the new series, which will focus on issues of race, racism, and social justice.

Presenting important concepts around race, racism and social justice for the youngest viewers, the series consists of music-based shorts that are designed to provide an inspiring and empowering message about noticing and celebrating differences and providing a framework for conversation. The shorts are slated to premiere later this year across all Disney Junior platforms.

“We recognize that many kids are experiencing a multitude of feelings around what’s happening in our world today and know that many families are struggling with how to discuss sensitive issues around race,” Joe D’Ambrosia, senior vice president of original programming and general manager of Disney Junior, said in a statement. “Our goal with these shorts is to open up the conversation and provide families with the tools and knowledge to address these important topics with their preschoolers in an age-appropriate manner through music and relatable kid experiences.”

Latoya Raveneau (Photo courtesy Megan Raveneau)

The shorts will feature music by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter of the GRAMMY Award®-winning musical group The Roots, who will serve as executive producers through their Two One Five Entertainment production company alongside Latoya Raveneau (Disney+’s highly anticipated “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder”), who also serves as executive producer.

The Conscious Kid, an organization dedicated to equity and promoting healthy racial identity development in youth, is consulting on the series and will develop a viewing companion guide for parents. “Rise Up, Sing Out” is produced in collaboration with Academy Award-winning animation studio Lion Forge Animation (“Hair Love”) for Disney Junior.

In a joint statement, Thompson and Trotter said, “It is an honor to work with the Disney Junior team to help create a series of shorts that will empower and uplift the future generations in the way we know best, through music. We hope these shorts will encourage the young audience to recognize and celebrate our differences as human beings while learning the tools to navigate real-world issues of racial injustice.”

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