Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Netflix it: the color of friendship

Remember the days when the Disney channel would come out with an original movie every month?

They would be called, cleverly, Disney Channel Original Movies? Most of them were pretty dumb. Fun to watch, but dumb. And then, in February of 2000, “The Color of Friendship” got released and everything we thought we knew about the Disney channel changed.

The studio that brought us such golden reflections on racial politics as “Peter Pan,” “Pocahontas” and “The Lion King” suddenly tackled South African apartheid like it was born for the job. Five incredibly short years after black South Africans cast their votes for the first time in history and Nelson Mandela was elected President, the freaking Disney channel was making movies about political assassinations and the Afrikaaner equivalent of the n-word. Then the movie won an Emmy. People sat up a little straighter and started paying attention.

Mahree Bok (Lindsay Haun) is a white South African student in 1977 who gets chosen to study abroad in Washington, D.C. for a semester. Her family is wealthy, Nationalist (supporters of apartheid) and employs many black servants. Her host family, on the other hand, is NOT WHITE. Surprises all around. Sobbing and wanting to go home and confusion and anger on all sides.

But things get better. Piper Dellums (Shadia Simmons), Mahree’s same-age host sister, stops hating Mahree when they go shopping together. Don’t forget this IS Disney, however righteous the cause.

Then Black Nationalist Steve Biko is murdered in South Africa, and Mahree must decide for herself whether to flee home to her ecstatic parents or stay with her new family and fight the system that killed Biko.

If you are uninformed about the struggle in South Africa, I truly think this is a good movie to start with. I mean it. The fall of apartheid is perhaps the greatest humanitarian victory of the last century. And it all starts with friends, people. Friends and Disney.

(2000)

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  • S

    sciFeb 14, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    we all love this movie

    Reply
  • P

    P HandMar 16, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    I LOVE this movie and have been trying to get it to show to my 6th graders when we study apartheid. I can’t afford to buy it used for 50.00 from amazon. Anyone know where I can get it?

    Reply
    • A

      Amanda JenkinsNov 25, 2015 at 3:04 am

      P Hand, I would be happy to give you a copy of the movie, an .mp4 file, feel free to e-mail me and I’ll do what I can to get it over to you ASAP!

      Reply
  • T

    T. KrissMar 13, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    This is a great movie. I say make your kids watch it. Not that they’ll mind. Its cute, funny, heartwarming, and eye-opening to boot. A great dialogue on racism and diversity. Note to all the grown-ups, though. Not a mascara movie. If you have a heart at all you WILL cry durring this movie at least once. I know I did. Cant say enough how much I love this movie…but on a non-political front it does remind you just how bad fashion was in the 70’s…. ick.

    Reply
  • A

    atarahFeb 26, 2009 at 11:49 am

    this movie made me cry and laugh at all the same time.
    i learn a lot from that movie. i never knew that south africa was like that.

    Reply