An Open Post to Disney

Dear Disney,

Listen, we know the company has had a checkered past with intended and unintended racism. You all admit that yourselves by refusing to release Songs of the South on home video/DVD in the US. We get it: you're sorry.

However, reconstructing your history to bend it away from the original content isn't exactly going to do you favors.

For example, in the licensed Hal Leonard "Fake Book" of your songs, the cute but incredibly racist because it is sung by characters actually labeled in the credits as "Jim Crows" song "When I See an Elephant Fly" from Dumbo, the lyrics to the song have been changed to reflect a more traditional pronunciation. This includes "I've seen about everything when I've seen an elephant fly" rather than the stereotypical Jim Crow "Well I been done seen about everything when I see a elephant fly." It's not that simple when, again, the characters are not just crows, but "Jim Crows" as per the credits.


Furthermore, it's quite clearly scat-language in The Jungle Book's "I Wanna Be Like You," is not "Ooo ooo ooo (eee eee eee) I want to be like you-ooo-ooo (eee eee eee)":

While I could have assumed this might have just been an editorial decision, the fact is other modern Disney sheet music books with full, choral, and/or simplified arrangements make the same changes.

On the plus side, your company smartly licenses every song in Peter Pan but "What Makes the Red Man Red."

At least you make some smart decisions.

Your concerned fan,

Robert