Disney is continuing on its trend of remaking their animated movies into live-action films. One of their next live-action remakes will be Lady and the Tramp which will be their first remake to be released exclusively on their new streaming service, Disney Plus. However, Disney has run into an unfortunate issue. In the original version of Lady and the Tramp, a particular song contains racist caricatures of minorities.
Just like how the crows in the original Dumbo were criticized for being caricatures of black people, the Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp, who were named Si and Am and originally voiced by Peggy Lee, have been criticized for being offensive stereotypes of Asians. In order to avoid controversy, the Dumbo remake completely removed the crows from the story, but according to Polygon, Disney will not be removing the cats. Instead, the infamous song that the cats sang will be removed and replaced with an original song that will be written by Janelle Monáe. Monáe will also be playing the character Peg but the song Peg sang will not be changed. Monáe will just be performing a cover of “He’s a Tramp”.
Other cast members besides Monáe include Thomas Mann, Kiersey Clemons, Benedict Wong, Ashley Jensen, and Yvette Nicole Brown. Lady and the Tramp is directed by Charlie Bean and will be available to stream in November of 2019. It is admirable that Disney is addressing the racism of the original movies and that they are trying to be more progressive. However, as Disney continues on its quest to remake their animated films, they will also have to address more unfortunate issues like the crows from Dumbo and the cats from Lady in the Tramp because while many of these Disney movies are beloved classics, a lot of them contain outdated depictions of minorities.