If you haven’t yet had a chance to check out the new Disney+ movie Sneakerella, here’s a quick synopsis: think Cinderella but with female empowerment, a fairy Godfather and instead of the coveted glass slipper, it’s a hot sneaker that’s left behind. The modern-day musical takes viewers on a reimagined journey of the classic fairytale, infusing hip hop and sneaker culture throughout, on the search for the sneaker’s owner, El, played by Chosen Jacobs.
Director Elizabeth Rosenbaum told ABC Audio the script’s theme of sneaker culture was a universal one and while the story had no “race or ethnicity assigned to any of the characters,” the most fitting main star was Jacobs — a young Black boy from Atlanta who in real life loves sneakers just as much as El.
“Sneakers transcend everything, no matter where you’re from,” Jacobs said. “I love Air Forces. I can go to Nebraska and find someone who’s immigrated from Japan and they’re [also] like, ‘Oh, I love Air Forces."”
Jacobs says no matter your age, race or religion, any and everyone can relate to “putting on that first-day-of-school outfit … your shoe was a big part of that.”
What’s really “dope” is the story’s broad range of representation, says rising star Lexi Underwood, who plays mogul-in-the-making Kira King. “The mere fact that it’s sneakers, music, culture — all those things bring us together and make us a community,” she said.
The ‘OG’ of the cast, NBA legend John Salley, can attest. Having grown up a part of New York’s preeminent sneaker and fashion world, he said the film speaks the language of the arts. And just as The Wizard of Oz follow-up The Wiz resonated with its generation, today’s kids are “going to say Sneakerella before they say Cinderella.”
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