One of the things I love about working with children is that they keep me on trend. And after trying to impress them with my recent viewing of Inside Out they told me that the movie to watch was SOUL!
It sounded good.
And - lately my class of children have been teaching ME about musical artists such as Andra Day and Anna Clendening so when they mentioned a movie with the aforementioned title of SOUL I knew I had to watch, because these artists had... soul.
The psychology of Inside Out was epic - I thought it gave a great depiction of characterising our many emotions that live in our head. These emotions are seldom spoke about, but each one has a unique purpose and Inside Out portrayed this in a fun, digestable way. And so - without knowing much about the film SOUL - bar the title, the children and my constant relationship with the word SOUL - I decided to CHOON IN (no typo)!
Have you chooned into my latest vlog review with the amazing artist Maia Watkins?
Here it is...
Let me know your thoughts on this review by talking to me in the comments section of this video!
So now we've spoken about SPIRITUALITY, back to some SOUL?
Let's start with a quick synopsis (without spoiling) SOUL
Soul takes us on the soulful journey of Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), a middle school music teacher who wants nothing from life but to play
However, LIFE throws a // PAUSE // onto Joe's plans
and he battles through the 'Great before' and 'Great after' in order to fulfil what he thinks his life's purpose is. Before he gets thrown into the // PAUSE//.
we get a taste of Jazz... as Joe gets what he thinks is an opportunity
of a lifetime!/>/<>/
We see Joe reminicse on how his father introduced him to what he describes as “Black Improvisation Music”
And as I sat back with my family - I also reminicsed on my relationship with the saxaphone. And how if I'd been taught that Jazz was Black Improviasation music I may have stayed playing the sax and my spark in life may have taken a different form.
We looked forward to an exciting journey of how jazz influenced this Black family's purpose.... SOUL!
Can you listen and read?
/ for a few moments and enjoy :)
Now given that we all are experiencing a pause on the planet due to Covid - and are arguably seeing a pause with big institutions reflecting on their institutional racism.
The FIRST PIXAR FILM TO FEATURE A BLACK LEAD IS TIMELY!
However, Black lead is more accurate than Black story because that is disappointingly all that Disney's version of Soul is.
And let's not forget the history of Disney...
And although Disney arguably rectified this imagery by the production of Black Panther I still invite us all to critically assess these films and the messages it sends to the children!
So let me help with my Black Lightning ability to deconstruct and decolonise why this SOUL lacked authenticity .
Despite the initial setup - to get us all hooked and smiling, one of the biggest concerns in the film was the presentation of a seemingly black story - with subliminal, unseen white angelic voices.
You can miss it!
Because the visuals on this film are amazing, and the soulful voices of Angela Bassett and Jamie Foxx are etched into our subconscious (soul) from their many movies.
But you must catch these things and dissect them thoroughly.
Especially when you have been given the role of being the guardian to actual angels (Children) in this realm.
And these White Angelic Voices that sit in heaven expose how far we still need to go to bypass the discrimination that is not just physical but also imbedded in sound.
The occupiers of the ‘Great before’ and ‘Great after’ were White. Like Jesus! And although after researching and discovering that Richard Ayoade was a part of this grouping… how does he SOUND?
And no! I'm not talking about his class, i'm talking about proximity.
Against Jamie Foxx, an established African American voice, the English RP accent has a look.... whether we are conscious of it or not!
In musical terms Jamie Foxx is heard as JAZZ and Richard Ayoade is heard as CLASSICAL (because that is how impressionable and powerful past imagery is). And although nothing is wrong with classical (and the images that conjures up) WE thought we were listening to JAZZ!
We were suppose to be Jazzing. //<//>//
Further to the white angels - what I found even more distracting was the voice of 22 specifically when inside of Joe Gardner.
Now I understand that who we are in the inside maybe different externally. I understand the narrative of how 22 ended up in Joe... so miss me with all of that!
I grew up watching and loving films like Freaky Friday - so I'm used to the setup but this
Why are all angels white people?
Why couldn’t 22 be voiced by a little Black boy?
Why was Jamie Foxx really voicing a cat for most of the movie?
Why does the cat remind me of Eddie Murphy as Donkey in Shrek?
Why are we always being subconsciously fed a white narrative even with Black animation when they're suppose to be JAZZING!<>!!/
It reminded me that the Play is a Play that doesn't PAUSE. A Black story? Not yet. Maybe the behind the scene team needs improvement.
A Slight SOUL spoiler
Take it away from RACE? Ok. There was another theme that caused my SOUL unease.
In the movie Joe’s SPARK was playing music, and spark, I guess, is kind of equivalent to talent.
He thought this was his life's PURPOSE. So purpose and spark being one of the same.
One of the White Angels teaches Joe that in actual fact his SPARK has nothing to do with his PURPOSE. And so.... all this time Joe's Jazzing he's basically being a lost SOUL??
What's the messaging for the children?
Your SPARK (talent) has no relation to your PURPOSE?
That's the message.
I don’t think so!
Your SPARK most definitely gives you clues about your SOUL'S purpose. Having played in classical and Jazz orchestras myself, and changing my career as a musician to become an actress let me tell you something that I know about true JAZZ... JAZZING...// Black improvisation music.
Every spark you have is clues sent from the universal intelligence to remind you of your purpose here!!
22 voiced by Tina Fey was unnecessary, distracting and I nearly boycotted the whole thing.
STOP is in/ on your control!
And... hold on who is the TRUE Joe Gardner?
Writer Mike Jones creator of Joe Gardner?
Jamie Foxx as Joe Gardner?
Here's the PROMO.
I decided to change the colours of my stars...
Black Stars are beautiful.
Unfortunately SOUL lost two stars...
1) for subliminal white angel messaging
2) for overrall confusing messaging! Your SPARK is DEFINITELY a clue to your PURPOSE!
The animation, the concept and everything Angela Bassett is why it got 3... guard your little angels whilst watching!