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An attraction featuring Disney’s first black princess replaces a ride based on a movie that many consider racist

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – A brand new attraction starring Disney’s first Black princess is opening at the corporate’s U.S. theme parks, and a few Disney supporters see it as a suitable substitute for a previous ride based on a film with racist tropes.

The latest theme park attraction continues the story of Tiana from the 2009 animated film “The Princess and the Frog” and can open this yr within the space previously occupied by Splash Mountain. The fundamental theme of the water ride was “Song of the South,” a 1946 Disney film filled with racist stereotypes about African Americans and plantation life.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure retains Splash Mountain’s log ride DNA, but is infused with music, scenery and animatronic characters inspired by “The Princess,” set in Twenties New Orleans. It will open to the general public later this month at Walt Disney World in Florida and at Disneyland in California later this yr.

“Tiana meant a lot to little Black girls. When a young child sees someone who looks like them, it matters,” said Neal Lester, an English professor at Arizona State University who has written about Tiana.

Disney’s announcement that it could transform its long-running Splash Mountain ride into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure was announced in June 2020 within the wake of social justice protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. Disney said on the time that the change was already within the works. But it happened as corporations across the United States, within the face of worldwide protests, reconsidered or modified their names to decades-old brands.

The film “Song of the South” is a mixture of live motion, cartoons and music, starring an elderly black man who works on a plantation and tells a white town boy fairy tales about talking animals. The film has been criticized for its racist stereotypes, has not been released in theaters for many years and is just not available on the corporate’s Disney+ streaming service.

Disney was criticized for racist themes in movies made in earlier many years. The crow characters from the 1941 film “Dumbo” and the character of King Louie from the 1967 “Jungle Book” were seen as caricatures of African Americans. Also ridiculed were depictions of Native Americans within the 1953 film “Peter Pan” and Siamese cats – often considered Asian stereotypes – within the 1955 film “Lady and the Tramp.”

Not everyone believes that opening a ride based on Tiana’s story solves Disney’s problematic racial representations.

In rebuilding Splash Mountain into Bayou Adventure Tiana, quite than completely dismantling the attraction, Disney combined “Song of the South” with “The Princess and the Frog.” Both are fantasies that are largely silent on the racial realities of the segregated eras they depict, said Katie Kapurch, an English professor at Texas State University who has written extensively about Disney.

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“We can see the impulse to replace rather than dismantle or build anew also as a metaphor for structural racism,” Kapurch said. “Again, this is unintentional on Disney’s part, but this observation goes to the heart of how Disney reflects America itself.”

The imagineers who design Disney attractions are at all times trying to take a look at attractions with fresh eyes and explore ways to inform latest stories “so that everyone feels included,” said Carmen Smith, senior vice chairman of creative development at Walt Disney Imagineering.

“We never want to perpetuate stereotypes or misconceptions,” Smith said Monday. “Our intention is to tell great stories.”

It’s also necessary for Imagineers to inform diverse stories to their global audiences, said Charita Carter, executive creative producer at Walt Disney Imagineering, who oversaw the attraction’s development.

“Society is actually changing and we are developing different sensibilities,” Carter said. “We focus our stories differently depending on the needs of our society.”

The transformation of Splash Mountain into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is certainly one of several recalibrations on the amusement giant’s theme parks for rides whose storylines are considered outdated or offensive.

In 2021, Disney announced that it could be revamping Jungle Cruise, certainly one of the unique attractions at Disney Parks that has been criticized prior to now for being racially insensitive because of its portrayal of animatronic indigenous people as savages or bounty hunters. Three years earlier, Disney had eliminated a “Bride Auction” scene from its “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride that was deemed offensive since it showed women lining up for an auction.

It’s a positive step for Disney that a ride based on a past character not seen in previous iterations of Disney princesses replaced an attraction from a movie steeped in racist tropes because “representation matters,” Lester said.

“Disney is all about money and getting people to the park, and you can make money, still have representation, be aware of the social justice story and make everyone feel like they belong there,” Lester said.

This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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American Airlines CEO says removing several black passengers from flight was ‘unacceptable’

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DALLAS (AP) – American Airlines has placed an unspecified variety of employees on leave over their involvement in an incident that resulted in several Black passengers being removed from a flight in Phoenix, allegedly over a body odor criticism.

US CEO Robert Isom wrote in a memo to employees that the incident was unacceptable.

“I am incredibly disappointed by what occurred on this flight and the violation of our procedures,” Isom wrote in a memo this week. “This goes against our values. (…)In this incident, we failed to live up to our commitments and let our customers down.”

Last month, three black passengers sued the airline, alleging they were removed from a January flight attributable to racial discrimination. They said they were told a white flight attendant had complained about an unidentified body odor from a passenger.

The men said they didn’t know one another and were sitting individually while waiting for a plane to New York. The three said they were amongst eight passengers – all Black men on board, they said – who were told to depart the plane.

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The men said they demanded a proof for his or her removal during a confrontation with airline staff on the jet’s bridge. At least certainly one of the boys recorded the discussion and captured an airline worker who, based on the lawsuit, appears to agree that the boys were discriminated against.

After a delay of about an hour, they were allowed to return to the plane.

The American didn’t specify what number of employees were placed on leave or what position they held. A spokesman for the airline said: “We are holding those involved accountable, including removing team members from service.”

Isom said American will create an advisory group that may deal with the experiences of Black customers, promote reporting of allegations of discrimination and improve diversity training to “focus on real-world situations to help recognize and address bias and discrimination.”

In his memo, previously reported by CBS News, Isom stated that he had discussed the incident with the president of the NAACP. The Civil Rights Group didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment on Thursday.

In the recent past, the American faced allegations of discrimination. In 2017, the NAACP warned Black travelers against traveling on the airline, saying several African American passengers experienced discrimination from airline employees. American promised to make changes, and the NAACP rescinded the advice nearly nine months later.

This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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Here’s how the U.S. Department of State’s new passport renewal system works

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Passport Renewal, Travel


The US Department of State has has kept its new passport renewal system secret – until now.

The agency quietly launched a new public beta test on June 12 that may allow U.S. residents to renew their passports without having to go to an office or physically mail in documents.

The department unsuccessfully tried to implement the new system in 2022 after attempting to clear an intense renewal backlog that stretched to 13 weeks. Under the new system, a limited number of U.S. residents will probably be eligible to submit license renewal applications every day at 1 p.m. The application will close once the unspecified each day limit has been reached. Once this number is established, the department plans to extend capability each day. However, the number of accepted applications will proceed to be limited over time because of efforts to watch the new system.

According to , the new system is included in President Joe Biden’s 2023 budget, which has been approved $163 million to revamp passport delivery services so the public can do it access essential online services. Funds also went toward customer-facing upgrades at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Social Security Administration.

There will probably be new requirements for passport renewal. For an upgrade, applicants should be not less than 25 years old, have a passport issued between 2009 and 2015, haven’t any plans to vary any demographics, and never travel abroad for not less than 8 weeks from the date of application for extension.

While travelers will now not need to go to an office for the process, processing times will remain roughly six to eight weeks. Expedited services that take two to 3 weeks to finish and require additional costs won’t be eligible for online applications.

It is hoped that the new system will proceed to make data processing easier in order that data isn’t any longer backed up. Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, processing times have decreased dramatically and haven’t been recovered because of travel collections and agency staff reductions, but the department says it has returned to normal work.

Back in 2021, the passport processing time was 18 weeks, and in the summer of 2023 it dropped to 10-13 weeks. As of November 2023, waiting times have been reduced to between seven and ten weeks. The first sign of normality appeared in December 2023, making it the first in the pre-pandemic era since March 2020.

To make matters even easier, the Department of State has approved a 12% staffing increase from December 2022 to January 2024.


This article was originally published on : www.blackenterprise.com
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8 practical travel tips to make your group trips happen this summer

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Make this summer your last summer and also you and your friends can plan your vacation in a group chat. Poor planning and inconvenient timing often leave travelers exhausted before they even start.

Such situations inspired SquadTrip to launch a comprehensive group travel platform. Designed to provide first-time travelers and seasoned explorers alike with the tools for stress-free travel, the free, user-friendly platform has simplified domestic and international travel for groups and solo travelers.

“Being from Brooklyn, my entrepreneurial spirit was ingrained in me and I always saw creators coming up with solutions to everyday problems,” SquadTrip founder Darrien Watson tells BLACK ENTERPRISE.

“SquadTrip responded to issues I noticed after being added to the Birthday Trip group chat. It started with good intentions, but getting everyone on the same page when planning was a nightmare!”

With useful features similar to fast messaging, questionnaires, pre-planned itineraries, reservations and the customarily dreaded payment collection, SquadTrip offers an entire trip planning experience. These features reveal Watson’s skilled experience working with software vendors and natural passion for travel.

“My co-founder and I knew we wanted to provide Black travelers with a marketplace tailored to their needs,” Watson says. “SquadTrip offers experiences curated by Black-owned tour operators and travel agencies, from luxury and cultural trips abroad to arrivals trips

“We wanted to eliminate setbacks that can take away from the enjoyment of group travel to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.”

Launching in Brooklyn, New York in 2022, SquadTrip is a premier travel platform tailored specifically for Black travelers, serving as a platform to discover trips curated by Black tour operators and travel agencies. With a comprehensive software solution, travelers can streamline group travel with features similar to TripBuilder, pre-planned itineraries and automatic monthly payment plans, all accessible through a user-friendly, centralized dashboard.

“Our software is the first online platform that allows you to create booking pages, accept payments, and manage communications and finances in one place,” says Watson.

Additionally, although the corporate was founded in Brooklyn, it has since moved its headquarters to Tulsa, Oklahoma to take part in the Techstar Accelerator Build In Tulsa program for POC founders.

“Now we are part of a growing Black tech sector that is revitalizing Black Wall Street in Tulsa,” Watson says.

Over the past two years, SquadTrip has facilitated lots of of trips in over 50 countries, improving travel experiences and meeting the unique needs of Black travelers all over the world. To help other Black travelers take a group trip this summer or later within the yr, SquadTrip has created an eight-step guide to assist you to organize a successful group trip and create unforgettable memories with your squad.

Rate the group – Find out who you are traveling with, their interests, budgets and travel styles so you’ll be able to effectively guide your planning process.

“Understanding your intentions is crucial for trips outside of specific celebrations, such as weddings or graduations,” Watson says. “To get off to a good start, make sure participants have common interests, whether that’s history in the case of a city tour or musical taste in the case of a festival.”

Democratize decision-making – Involve your group from the start so everyone feels heard. Use SquadTrip to brainstorm destinations, travel dates and budgets.

“SquadTrip empowers users to make decisions by allowing them to create trip-specific questionnaires,” Watson explains. “To ensure that everyone’s preferences are heard and incorporated into the planning process.”

Choose the proper accommodation— Research to find accommodation and transportation convenient for your complete group. Consider flights, trains or automobile rentals when it comes to cost and travel time.

“Consider using room types to accommodate preferences while also checking accurate pricing and floor layouts,” adds Watson. “It’s a good idea to check bed arrangements, occupancy limits and other information in advance to make sure everyone is comfortable.”

Create your travel plan and use “maybe” – Group planning could be difficult and require compromise because preferences vary. SquadTrip helps by creating flexible itineraries that include group activities and free time to ensure everyone enjoys their trip.

“It’s good to go on a journey with a plan, even if it’s not very detailed,” notes Watson. “Having an idea of ​​what each day might look like helps provide structure so you can make the most of your adventures.”

Avoid chasing advances – Avoid awkward conversations by collecting and scheduling payments through SquadTrip and eliminating the necessity for group texting, spreadsheets, or apps like Venmo and PayPal.

“Travel is usually a hindrance when it comes to raising money,” admits Watson. “We have added automatic payments through SquadTrip to avoid uneven amounts and make sure everything is fair.”

“With transparency around individual premiums, total cost and payment progress, there is no need for reconciliation or awkward ‘can you send me one’ conversations when everyone gets home,” he adds.

Update your lineup – Prioritize clear communication when planning. Keep everyone informed about decisions and changes. With SquadTrip you’ll be able to send emails, trip updates and automatic payment reminders to your group.

“There is no such thing as too much communication when planning group trips. But it’s best to keep all critical and core updates
planning in a central location,” says Watson. “By simplifying, everyone will be on the same page without hassle.”

Celebrate differences and acknowledge the inevitable – Group trips bring together diverse personalities. Accept differences to discover hidden interests. Expect the unexpected: flight delays, lost luggage and personality conflicts. Deal with hiccups flexibly and with humor.

“Compromise will be possible in any event that involves many people, especially if group outings do not focus on the celebrant,” Watson explains. “In addition, the flexibility of travel plans allows you to discover new passions, so it is important to keep an open mind.”

Consider a travel agency – For independent group leaders, SquadTrip offers a curated number of travel agencies specializing in group tours Here.

“If your group prefers hands-free planning, don’t hesitate to ask for additional help,” suggests Watson. “SquadTrip travel marketplace features hand-picked Black tour operators and travel agents for seamless management.”

This article was originally published on : www.blackenterprise.com
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