FLASHBACK! Ever notice that the careers of the Disney Channel stars of the early 2000's are still very much a thing?
Have you been feeling like it's the early 2000's again lately?
Tevas are back in style, along with iridescent accessories, double hair buns, and chokers. The princesses of Disney Channel's golden age reign the media and music scene once again but in a totally different way. Demi, Selena, Miley, and Hilary have dropped some amazing music lately and I think that their long-lived success is a testament of what great artists they are in tandem with "treating their careers like [bad boyfriends]," as Amy Poehler says in her book Yes Please. Let's see what they've been up to:
Demi's first album Don't Forget
Following Camp Rock, Demi went on to have a budding music career and also star on Sonny with a Chance on Disney Channel she quickly secured herself a spot among Disney Channel royalty.
After her first few albums, Demi took a noticeable hiatus from Disney Channel and Hollywood; however, her struggle with depression and an eating disorder were made pretty public. These kind of problems run through Hollywood and it's totally understandable. There's a lot of pressure involved in being in the limelight. Instead of hiding her issues, Demi opened up and spoke about them. She used her imperfections (we all have them), to help her young fans and I think that this and taking the time off she needed has allowed her to have a lengthy career.
In 2015 she released a powerful album, Confident, and this year she's back and better than ever. Her newest single just dropped and it's more bad to the bones than ever. "Sorry Not Sorry," is about being your fiercest self after a break up when your ex lover wants you back. I definitely strut down the street to this song at least once a day.
And of course we love her then and now.
Wizards of Waverly Place poster.
You probably remember Selena Gomez as the sassy teen witch Alex on Wizards of Waverly Place. At the same time she started to emerge as a singer as well, singing the theme song to the show, "Everything is Not What it Seems".
Selena continued to work with Disney Channel on various other WOWP related projects and other projects like The Princess Protection Program, before making a pretty seamless transition to music.
After working with Selena & The Scene and doing a few other movies in between, Selena left the band in 2012 and took a hiatus. When she returned she released her first solo album and went on tour with her new music, but cancelled a part of her tour in order to spend time with her family. This followed a lot of criticism directed toward her music.
In 2015 Selena dropped Revival which has by far been her most successful album yet. Three singles from this album made it to no.1 on the Top 40's charts making her the first female artist to achieve this.
Selena on the red carpet for 13 Reasons Why
Most recently, Selena has been making headlines as a producer on the hit show 13 Reasons Why. She also recently dropped two new singles "Bad Liar" and "Fetish". Needless to say Selena is killing it and like Demi, I think she's able to do such amazing work because she knew when to take a step back and recharge.
Work that Disney wand, Selena!
Miley as Miley in Hannah Montana
I remember when Miley was the new kid in the Disney Channel scene. I envied her for her lead role as Miley/Hannah on Hannah Montana. Though the show had a long run and a great movie to go with it, like most things Hannah Montana came to an end. Luckily it was the perfect show for Miley to grow her music identity along side.
After many successful songs from Hannah Montana (oh you know them, "YOU GET THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS!"), Miley signed on with Hollywood Records and released her first single "See You Again" which I have fond memories dancing around after first dates to.
In 2010, Miley took a turn for the sexier with "Can't Be Tamed". She received some criticism for showing that side of herself after having a very young audience. She parted ways with Hollywood records and took a hiatus from music focusing on acting instead. She starred in The Last Song, LOL, So Undercover, and more.
Following her acting stint and music hiatus Miley returned to the music scene full force, basically telling the world that she didn't care what they thought that this was her. This is the era of Bangerz, and Her Dead Petz, and "Wrecking Ball". This period evoked a lot of mixed feelings from fans. She was accused of losing it and being another child star to go while, but I honestly think that this shameless of a self-expression was one of Miley's biggest triumphs as an artist.
Miley has recently reinvented herself again which seems to be a balance between her country roots and her eccentric, sexy last album. Check out her latest song Inspired.
It's safe to say Miley is always true to herself and I think that's why her career is so long-lived.
The queen of all the Disney queens, in my very biased opinion, is Hilary Duff. I remember having a very passionate talk with my mom in the car when I was 10 about Hilary. "She's so good mom. I will always be a fan," I said. After probably talking her ear off about Duff for the past fifteen minutes my mom finally broke the news to me that celebrities come and go and that I probably won't always be a fan. What if Hilary had a child star meltdown like so many of her peers. "Well, I don't want her to do bad things, but I'd still like her I think. She won't do anything bad," I decided confidently. Lucky for me folks, Hil came through.
Pretty quickly after Lizzie McGuire, Hilary did a slew of movies from Cadet Kelly and The Lizzie McGuire Movie both under the Disney name, to Human Nature, Agent Cody Banks, A Cinderella Story (personal favorite), and so many more.
Around the same time, Hilary spring boarded into her music career. Her first album, Santa Claus Lane did decently in the charts but was Christmas themed. Following Santa Claus Lane and of course the wildly popular "Why Not" from The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Duff released her second studio album Metamorphosis.
Hilary released her self-entitled shortly after followed by her first compilation album Most Wanted. She soon later turned back to acting and at the same time reinvented herself musically becoming what some would consider a sex symbol with her songs "With Love" and "Stranger."
Hilary took a step out of the limelight briefly and got married to Mike Comrie and had her son Luca (who is the cutest), though she still made cameo appearances here and there. Hilary and Mike divorced soon later.
Recently, Hilary is back and better than ever. She's been a recurring character on TV Land's Younger. She has recently released her newest album Breathe In. Breathe Out. and continues to be the best mommy ever to Luca. She recently made headlines in shooting down body shamers.
And clearly she hasn't forgotten her roots.
The Trump-Twitter Industrial Complex continues to fester and mutate.
This week, President Donald J. Trump tweeted a false statement about mail-in ballots.
He wrote that secretaries of state were sending mail-in ballots to every person, when actually states are only sending out ballot applications. For the first time, Twitter jumped in to fact-check Trump's statement, adding a link to a webpage full of information about mail-in ballots.
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Was the Jimmy Fallon Blackface Skit Intentionally Released as a Distraction from the Murder of George Floyd?
Racist police violence is a modern epidemic. So why are we talking about an SNL skit from 2000?
At this point, celebrity apologies are incredibly common. In 2020, it seems like some formerly beloved actor or TV personality is being put through the wringer of public opinion a few times a week.
Most recently, Twitter canceled Jimmy Fallon after an unquestionably racist skit from the 2000 season of SNL resurfaced online. The skit features Fallon impersonating Chris Rock, complete with black face and an offensive imitation of Rock's speech patterns.
Jimmy Fallon Blackface youtu.be
This quickly led to the hashtag #jimmyfallonisoverparty trending on Twitter. While fans seemed split on whether Fallon should be forgiven for the 20-year-old misstep, most everyone agreed that Fallon should apologize regardless. This morning, he did just that in the form of a tweet.
As far as celebrity apologies go, Fallon's is a pretty good one. He doesn't try to sidestep the blame, he doesn't bring up the fact that there were undoubtedly many, many other individuals involved in the creation of the skit, and he doesn't even mention the fact that in 2000, many people still thought it was possible for black face to be done in the spirit of fun, because the deeply racist nature of the act was largely ignored in mainstream (white) media. Of course, we know better now, and it's easy to see that a white person doing an exaggerated imitation of a black person—darkened skin included—can only be a racist, belittling act with a long, dark history of racial oppression. With that in mind, Fallon's only option was to apologize without caveat or reservation. Indeed, it's refreshing to see a celebrity apology that doesn't try to justify or minimize their own misstep. While we can all agree Fallon made a terrible, racist choice 20 years ago, we have to believe that, like all of us, he's grown since then. If cancel culture is to have any efficacy in making the world a better place, it has to leave room for forgiveness and growth. Hopefully, the whole affair will leave Fallon (and those who witnessed it) more racially sensitive.
All of that being said, one has to ask why the clip was brought up now, given that it's been circulated around the Internet before, and the specific YouTube clip that was shared was posted on the site over a year ago. It's also worth noting that the version of the clip that was going around Twitter has a text overlay that reads: "NBC FIRED MEGAN KELLY FOR MENTIONING BLACKFACE. JIMMY FALLON PERFORMED ON NBC IN BLACKFACE."
Megan Kelly, an outspoken conservative, was indeed fired from her job at NBC because she defended the use of blackface in Halloween costumes, saying on her talk show, "Truly, you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who put on whiteface for Halloween," she said. "When I was a kid, that was OK as long as you were dressing up as a character." While Fallon's instance of racial insensitivity was in 2000, Kelly defended blackface in 2019, long after society at large had begun to acknowledge the hurt that blackface and other forms of racial impersonation could cause. This fundamental difference aside, Kelly also has a long history of racial insensitivity that Fallon does not, even once saying, "What is the evidence that what happened to Eric Garner and what happened to Michael Brown has anything to do with race?" in a conversation about the epidemic of racist police officers in America.
Given the text overlay, it's pretty clear that whoever began the #jimmyfallonisoverparty was not necessarily seeking justice for the black community, but was instead trying to imply hypocrisy in the cancellation of Megan Kelly, given that Fallon (who has been outspoken about the flaws of the Trump administration and political pundits like Kelly) is still on the air. One even has to wonder if, given that it's obvious that the #jimmyfallonisoverparty trend was begun by a conservative individual or group, if the trend was meant to be a distraction from the widespread racist police violence that has been emphasized in recent weeks by incidents like the death of George Floyd, a black man who was murdered in Minneapolis by a white police officer on Monday. It seems oddly coincidental that the clip of Fallon should flood the Internet with controversy the day after Floyd's murder, unfortunately serving to help steer conversation away from Floyd's unjust death.
Indeed, under the unquestionably racist Donald Trump administration, more and more black people are being harassed, attacked, and murdered at the hands of racist white civilians and police officers. But Trump and his supporters don't want you to focus on that–so much so that it doesn't feel impossible that the Fallon skit was intentionally weaponized as a distraction.
In the last few weeks alone we learned that Ahmaud Arbery was murdered senselessly by a white man while simply out for a jog, and we all witnessed the harassment of Christian Cooper, a black man who was threatened by a white woman in Central Park who didn't want to put her dog on a leash. It's clear that racism in America cannot be reduced to insensitive skits from 20 years ago but is instead a current and deadly problem. What Jimmy Fallon did in 2000 was racist, yes; but don't let that distract you from the deadly consequences of racism in 2020, don't let celebrity apologies make you take your eyes of our lawmakers, who aren't doing enough to protect people of color in this country. Don't let the latest "#_____isoverparty" trend distract you from the deadly consequences of racism in our laws, culture, and criminal justice system.
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