Pride month may be coming to an end for another year, but there is still much to celebrate, and don’t just take my word for it, take the word of Disney. Over the weekend, the Mouse House rolled out the rainbow carpet for a special one-off Pride celebration to highlight the LGBTQ+ community, and I’m letting you know, because I would hate for you to miss it!
The event – ‘This Is Me’ Pride Celebration Spectacular – took the form of a live stream, which aired on Sunday, via the official Disney+ Facebook page, as well as the Disney+ YouTube account. Clocking in at around the 35-minute mark, the show was presented by drag queen Nina West, and featured a wealth of special guests including (amongst others) entertainer Todrick Hall, Broadway stars Michael James Scott and Alex Newell, fellow drag queen Jackie Cox, and the legend that is Kermit the Frog.
If you missed out on the live stream of Disney’s Pride event, then don’t worry, the whole show is now available to view in its entirety on the Disney+ YouTube channel. The show was uploaded yesterday, and I’ve already watched it twice.
Yep, I watched it once this morning, and then I watched it a second time this afternoon. I found ‘This Is Me’ Pride Celebration Spectacular to be thoroughly enjoyable, perfectly pitched, and very well presented.
Set out as a sort-of variety show, ‘This Is Me’ Pride Celebration Spectacular is a family-friendly special, which showcases musical segments from some of the best-loved Disney movies and TV shows of the past. Each piece of music is performed by a different artist with an LGBTQ+ flavour, and with songs coming from the likes of The Greatest Showman, Aladdin, Tarzan, The Little Mermaid, and even WandaVision.
The show is held together by Nina West, who pops up in between each performance to offer a little bit of commentary. She talks about the ways in which classic Disney songs connect to LGBTQ+ audiences, and notes that many of the songs are inspirational and meaningful to the queer community.
The special is presented very tastefully, it is inclusive, colourful, occasionally camp, and always smile-inducing. Sure, it looks as if it was produced on a shoe-string budget, with performances all conducted remotely, but what it lacks in production values it certainly makes up for in the heart department.
As someone who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community, and who is a big Disney fan, I felt included and recognised – with the Mouse House making important strides to make deeper connections with me and other queer fans. OK, so the special is aimed primarily at a younger demographic, not necessarily my generation, but regardless of age the content still strikes a chord.
And the reason this special works so well is because of Nina West, who proves to be an excellent host. Whether speaking directly to camera, or performing a duet with Kermit the Frog, Nina is warm, likeable, sincere, and quite simply, fabulous.
Nina recently presented a Pride segment for Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues, and now with this Disney show under her belt, she continues to demonstrate that she has a great screen presence. Nina would make a fantastic host on a children’s TV show, and I would be very surprised if this gig doesn’t lead to even bigger things.
‘This Is Me’ Pride Celebration Spectacular is the sort of show I would have loved to have watched when I was growing up, and I am so glad that it exists now. It offers a platform for acceptance, a place where dreams can come true, and a message that everyone is welcome, and loved, and important.
It would be easy to criticise Disney for not putting this show on the main Disney+ streaming service, but I believe it works fine on the YouTube channel. The format, direction, and budget, is more suited to YouTube, and I believe it will find exactly the right audience here – i.e. the younger generation who need to see a show like this, but who may not be quite ready to share it with their parents just yet.
If you’ve got kids who love to sing and dance, or you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community and you adore Disney, give it a go. Find the joy in the music, realise the importance of the show’s existence, and feel a warm and fuzzy feeling at the sight of a frog and a drag queen performing The Rainbow Connection.