Michael Collins Proud Family: Louder and Prouder arrived on Disney+ just a few weeks ago, and its attempts to live up to the “Louder and Prouder” half of its moniker are already obvious from the first few episodes. The first series was unafraid to address societal issues, but Louder and Prouder took it to a new level.
The show addresses themes like “cancel culture and introduces characters such as Maya, who incorporates activism into the plot. It also features the series’ first openly gay character. Michael Collins has arrived. He’s had more screen time in the first three episodes of Louder and Prouder than he had in the entire first season of Michael Collins Proud Family.
“We talk about how the world has changed?” said the show’s executive producer, Ralph Farquhar, in an interview.
“Where are we now, and what have the most changes been? To be honest, the concept of gender identification was the most important.”
So far (after only two episodes), this new remake has done an excellent job of embracing the social shift in terms of diversity and representation in general. It does so while maintaining a commitment to being unabashedly Black. With all of this social awareness, it’s surprising that the show’s perception of Black culture – something it takes pleasure in (pun intended) – is still so stuck in the past.
To put it mildly, the show’s limited depiction of what it means to be Black is soo ’00s. The Proud Family had a definite vision when it initially started.
“When we first appeared, I think our primary objective was that we wanted to be unabashedly Black, and at the time, weirdly enough, there were no Black family animated series,” Farquhar remarked.
“People could see themselves through it, which was significant,” he added.
Growing up Black meant being starved of identifiable role models in mainstream media. Thus, any form of a good representation of Blackness was preferable to no representation. However, as society changes, mainstream media must improve.
The Proud Family
Still growing slowly, The Proud Family: The greatest success of Louder and Prouder is also its worst failure. Yes, it is proudly Black, with recognizable cultural references to one type of Blackness. Did you notice what I said? ONE sort of Blackness, because that’s where it lets the culture down. It bolstered the already harmful belief that there is only one way to be Black. This obviously stylish, swaggering depiction of Blackness suffocates other forms of Blackness.
This leaves people with the expectation that you should walk, act and wear a certain type of way because you’re Black and when you fail to match those expectations, you quickly become ‘not Black enough.’ If you don’t roll your eyes and wag your finger with a little ‘tude when astonished, it’s time to revoke your Black card.
This concealed pressure is valuable, and these representations (while beneficial) can be oppressive when not appropriately contextualized.
This was a challenge Marcus Scribner’s character Junior regularly experienced in Black-ish since he didn’t match the stereotypical Black mold. On the other hand, the creators’ smart handling of the matter was refreshing. The show frequently challenged what it meant to be Black via him, and in doing so, they truly provided for the room to be unabashedly Black.
In the same interview, creator and executive producer Bruce W Smith discusses the importance of the show and its impact on the younger generation, and he is correct. It was and continues to be influential and relevant – both then and now.
As a result, we must rethink the concept of what it means to be Black and demonstrate how we identify as Black inside a culture that is so diverse. Exceptionally more so than this single point of view.