If the Shoe Fits: Brandy is Back!

If the Shoe Fits: Brandy is Back! (Matt Winkelmeyer via Getty Images)

Los AngelesLast November it was announced that singer-songwriter Brandy would reprise her role of Cinderella, made famous in the Disney 1997 musical film of the same name in the upcoming Disney + Original film “Descendants: The Rise of Red.” 

This film is a spin-off of existing musical fantasy franchise Descendants which premiered in 2015 and concluded as a trilogy in 2019 on Disney Channel. Descendants features a world where the Disney classic fairy tale and villain characters co-exist together taking place after the films that primarily feature the children of beloved couples such as “Beauty and the Beast” and villainous characters such as Jafar from “Aladdin,” etc. Rise of Red will focus on Red, a daughter of the Queen of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland” and Chloe, the daughter of Cinderella and King Charming who will work together to travel to the past in order to stop a devastating event. 

This is fitting and a perfect opportunity to bring Brandy back and her King Charming, Paolo Montalban, for this next entry in the franchise.

On March 22, Disney released our first look with a video of the ‘’Vocal Bible’’ herself, Grammy Award winning artist Brandy and Paolo Montalban reuniting as Cinderella and King Charming on the set of the film.

While this is not the first time Brandy and Montalban reunited, it is the first time we are seeing them step into their iconic roles after 26 years. The stars were featured in an interview with ET on the set of Rise of Red to discuss their royal return and reminiscence about shooting the first film. 

The 1997 film was not just an adaptation of the classic Fairy Tale, but is the third adaptation of the musical by the notable theater and writing team, Rodgers and Hammerstein. Julie Andrews and Leslie Ann Warren previously played Cinderella in their versions also airing on television, this version on ABC. The tale was updated for contemporary audiences by giving Cinderella more depth to her character with feminist ideals. Whitney Houston appeared as the glittering gold Fairy Godmother and co-produced the film. 

Brandy was selected by Houston and was only 18 years old at the time, with her debut album released three years prior and her hit sitcom “Moesha” premiering the previous year. 

The film made a lasting impact as it was unabashedly racially diverse and utilized color-blind casting as Brandy was the first ever Black actress to play Cinderella on a major TV production.

As a Black woman who saw the 1997 film in my youth, it being a staple repeat on VHS, this is a homecoming event. While Disney has given us the first animated Black princess in 2009’s “The Princess and the Frog,” this was the first Black princess ever shown on the small screen with a massive broadcast in this timeless tale. 
I, as many other people, are waiting with bated breath on how they will portray her and her Prince Charming in the film.

A release date has not been determined.

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