Lin-Manuel Miranda, Stephanie Beatriz and Diane Guerrero on Afro-Latino representation in Disney’s ‘Encanto’
"Encanto" is an animated feature film that follows a diverse and close-knit Colombian family.
Disney fans only have to wait a few more days before the premiere of the next animated musical, Encanto. Breaking new ground for Disney’s canon, the film takes viewers into the hidden mountains of Colombia, highlighting a new kind of story for the format and making waves in Afro-Latino representation on screen.
The film boasts a massive creative team, with a score from famed composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, In the Heights, Moana) and a voice cast that features Stephanie Beatriz (In the Heights), Diane Guerrero (Orange is the New Black) and more. theGrio caught up with these three, who broke down the importance of representation in film, especially when children are the designated audience.
“Afro-Latino representation in this film is vital,” Beatriz insisted.
Encanto follows the Madrigals, a large family that allows the movie to showcase the the many different skin tones, hair textures and other features within a single family.
“It is vital for audiences, not only American audiences but global audiences to see that Latinos just don’t look one way,” Beatriz said. “There are so many shades of us, and the fact that all of those shades are captured within a family unit and what a beautiful metaphor that is for Latinidad and like who we are, it’s really stunning.”
Miranda also spoke to the representation in the film, sharing that the desire was to create “what was missing” when he was a kid.
“To have the totality of this family and the many hues in which Latinidad exists under one roof is really special,” he said. “We’re always kind of trying to, you know, create what was missing and to have this kind of representation…when I think about the Latino characters in Disney when I was a kid, it’s like the Chihuahua in Oliver & Company and that’s kind of it!”
Guerrero, who was a cast member of Orange is the New Black, a series that pushed diversity boundaries, echoed the sentiments shared by Beatriz and Guerrero. She explained, “It’s so hard to put into words like, ‘Hey I’m from Colombia, but people don’t just look like me!’ Some of us have darker skin and curly hair, some of us are really dark and have super straight hair…we come in so many ways and there’s no one way to define us.” She added, “It’s really special.”
Encanto premieres in theaters Nov. 24.
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