by guest contributor Karen Gilmore
The Disney Channel is adding more diverse faces in its program line-up. Corbin Bleu and Brenda Song are ones to watch. Corbin Bleu is one of the stars of the Disney Channel’s break-away hit High School Musical. The half Jamaican, half Italian star has found his stride in the the ‘tween and teen audience. He stars in the upcoming Disney Channel movie “Jump In” opposite of Akeelah and the Bee’s, KeKe Palmer. He recently signed a record deal and has an album slated for Fall 2007 release.
I find it a little sad that a couple of the most asked questions he gets according to his journal are: 1.) What is your ethnicity? and 2.) How does he get his hair like that? In an interview Bleu was aked what are some of the struggles for him in the entertainment business? His answer:
…A lot of times, they’re not looking for your type, especially because I’m mixed, especially. A lot of times they either want to go full on Caucasian or they want to go full on black. They either want somebody who is really black and from the street, and urban, and a little bit ghetto, or they want a Caucasian. That’s probably one of the hardest struggles for me.
Then there’s Brenda Song. The leading Asian-American face on The Disney Channel. She’s Thai-American and Hmong according to her website. She’s a regular cast member on the Suite Life of Zack & Cody and she starred in the Disney Channel original movie “Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior”.
Although it’s nice to see her get a leading role, it would have been better if it wasn’t a martial arts movie. Our minds won’t melt if we don’t see a predominantly Asian cast do backflips.
Since The Disney Channel seems to groom its stars the old Hollywood studio style, we’ll probably be seeing Bleu and Song in various Disney related projects. And if they’re really blessed, they’ll get Hilary Duff type success and hopefully more interesting parts will be developed for them.