The Disney movie Encanto has not only positioned itself as one of the most-watched movies in the world, also with a number one music playlist on Spotify, but it has also created a feeling of representation for children of color.
The most recent case is that of little Manu, who is seen very happy in a video while pointing out Mirabel's character to her mother, Hannary. Manu, like many other children, has found representations of her physical and cultural features in the film.
ABC recently compiled some testimonies of therapists who defended and promoted Encanto for being a central axis of Latino representation over the last few months.[ad]
Kadesha Adelakun, one of the therapists interviewed by ABC, was always sure of the greatness of Encanto.
"There are so many layers, so many dynamics. I think it's going to have a huge impact on society. People are seeing this movie and they're realizing they're seeing themselves in it," she said.
For her part, Mara Sammartino, a therapist in Fairfield, California, said migrant people, especially U.S.-born children, develop identity issues and are required to do more than they can handle, even feeling in the end that they cannot deliver what is expected of them.
"Our parents come here fleeing war, poverty, violence. They come here, they establish a life, and then we're born into this duality, and we're not seen in one, and we're not seen in the other. I think that's why Mirabel's character resonates. She is part of that duality. She is the only one who is in touch with the community. She's the one who's getting out of the house, talking to people. Then she comes home and they put her in her place and say, 'You don't really have anything to contribute,'" Sammartino said.
Antonio's little doppelganger
Another well-known case of a child who has felt seen in a character from Encanto is Kenzo Brooks, who lives with his parents in New York. When he saw the movie for the first time, he started clapping when he saw Antonio, the little boy who discovers his gift throughout the story.
"I really think he thought he was watching himself," his mother, Kaheisha, told ABC. "He would just stare at the screen and come back and look at us smiling."
His father said the boy "got to see someone who looks like him; something that, when I was growing up, didn't happen often. I think it's amazing that so many other black and brown-skinned kids can have the same experience now."