August 25th, 2006 was the date. I had just started the fifth grade at a new school. I was 25rezoned to an elementary school that was needed, but wasn’t built, so the campus was made up entirely of portables. Instead of the kids I had grown up with, it was a smattering of students from the area. Those first weeks of school were rough for all of us. We had a new campus to get accustomed to, along with new friends, new teachers, a new curriculum, etc. There was one thing that connected many of us, however, and that was the all-important DCOM Cheetah Girls 2.
That night the film premiered, followed by the world premiere Vanessa Hudgens’ first music video “Baby Come Back,” and I went bananas. I called my friend Victoria during every commercial to gab about what was happening. The Monday we returned, most of us in my AGP class had memorized lyrics and choreography already. We then proceeded to recreate scenes from the movie at recess.
For those unfamiliar, the movie followed four girls who had a music group to a singing competition in Barcelona. Tensions were high and sabotage from other performers was present as they set out to bring their act around the world and to make their success go global. It starred the Queen Emeritus of Disney Channel (and if I have anything to say about it, 2017 Disney Legend inductee?), Miss Raven-Symone.
Now, let’s talk very quickly about Raven because she ruled Disney Channel during this time. That’s So Raven continues to be the best Disney Channel original series of all-time. Cheetah Girls 2 is the best musical DCOM they’ve ever released. She also had multiple singles and albums (most of which I sing to myself in my room on a daily basis) with music videos that played all the time, “Some Call It Magic” being my fave. She was everywhere, and for good reason, since her talent is incredible. I love CG2, but I LOVE Raven Symone.
I made lifelong friends from the Cheetah Girls 2 obsession (HEY LAUREN HEY! FABULOUS SNAPS FOR DAYS!). However, it not only changed my fifth-grade experience, it changed Disney Channel.
On August 25th, 2006, Disney Channel solidified itself as the Queen of Musicals. Cheetah Girls, the original, did well. HSM did extremely well. Those two could have been flukes, but the ratings success of CG2 (actually beating HSM as the most watched DCOM of 2006) made it known that the movie musical was back to stay. Not only was it back to stay, but Disney Channel was the only one that could make the ratings successes happen. With that, we received Cheetah Girls 3, Camp Rock 1 and 2, High School Musical 2 (the third being released in theaters), Teen Beach Movie 1 and 2, and now Descendants. Nickelodeon tried to compete, but theirs were nowhere close to the television blockbusters Disney produced. Do you remember Nickelodeon’s Rags? Exactly.
While #HSM10 was a huge deal and I still miss the days of singing “We’re All In This Together” at lunch with friends (Wildcat Claw, Wildcat Claw, Punch Right, Punch Left…), Cheetah Girls 2‘s 10th anniversary this August is the one we should be celebrating — it changed the face of Disney Channel.