Disney listened! The live action “Mulan” has a release date of November 2018. Many of us are fans of this great Disney film, so it is with great pleasure that we see that Disney heard us!
The announcement sparked a petition of ‘whitewashing’ the film that nearly 90,000 people signed. Surprisingly the trending hashtag all over twitter and Facebook was the leading force.
“If mulan ain’t the main character or not centered around a love interest there gon’ be dishonor evERYWHERE
Participatory culture went a successful rampage here and clearly affected production. After hearing everyone’s concerns about how they might turn Mulan into a damsel in distressed saved by a ‘white’ love interest Disney responded, according to a source “close to the film,” that there’s nothing to worry about. As they explain:
“The spec script was a jumping-off point for a new take on the story that draws from both the literary ballad of Mulan and Disney’s 1998 animated film. Mulan is and will always be the lead character in the story, and all primary roles, including the love interest, are Chinese.”
Disney has also officially launched “a global casting search” to find a Chinese actor to play Mulan. So basically a big relief all round. This is also a great representation of how powerful we as an audience have become. Many are even going as far as attempting to suggest who should play the main roles.
We also see the spread-ability HASHTAGS have taken on. We can see them on multiple news outlets because they are not limited to twitter alone, as I once thought. This means that it is easier to share this news with all your friends on multiple platforms ie: Facebook. If it was simply limited to one social media platform (ie: twitter) I never would have heard about it or even been drawn to it.
Considering all the aspects of participatory culture we can dive deeper into how it is working in this circumstance.
Expression: People are making awesome gifs from scenes of the animated versions. There are also a lot of girls feeling empowered by Mulan’s heroism by doing their make-up like hers and posting picture with the #.
Collaborative Problem-Solving: When multiple people shared their concern and others replied with agreement everyone got together to get their petition signed! We saw something we didn’t like and we got together to let them know. If they want us to ‘consume’ their product, they are gonna have to give us something we like!
Affiliation: The moment someone uses that hashtag you enter the community of people who have an opinion as to how Mulan should be produced. Whether you share the same concerns, agree or NOT, does not exclude you from the conversation.
Circulation: As mentioned above. Hashtags can be on multiple platforms, but beyond that, multiple new outlets could not go without reporting it!
NowThis made a video about the entire progression from the Hashtags, to the petition hundreds of thousands of people signed to Disney’s final reassuring response. This case of ‘participatory culture beats studio productions’ went VIRAL.
We may not run the entire show but, this is one great example of how New Media has given us (the audience) power to influence even corporations like Disney.