Featuring both live action and animated elements, the 1946 film is set in the Reconstruction era following the end of the US Civil War and the abolition of slavery.
Since its release, Song of the South has faced criticism for both its idyllic depiction of slavery and use of racial stereotypes in its representation of black people.
The film has never been released on home video in the US because of said criticism, but was released on VHS in the UK, Europe and Japan throughout the 1980s. It is not available to stream on Disney+ due to its “outdated cultural depictions”, Disney CEO Bob Iger said in March.
However, Song of the South was the inspiration behind long-standing Disneyland ride Splash Mountain, which first opened in 1989 and featured animated characters Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear, as well as the Academy Award-winning song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”.
With a petition demanding that the attraction be replaced for its “racist” and “problematic” history reaching 21,000 signatures in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, Disney announced in June that it would be changing the ride to one inspired by 2009’s The Princess and the Frog.
The film features Tiana, the first black Disney princess, and is set in New Orleans in the 1920s.
“Splash Mountain – at both Disneyland park in California and Magic Kingdom park in Florida – will soon be completely reimagined,” Disney said.
“Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important. It’s a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou.”
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies