Disney+ Celebrates Black History Month With Video Highlighting Real-Life Inspirations Behind Their Characters

Disney+ has released a new YouTube video to celebrate Black History Month that highlights some of the real-life inspirations behind films in their “Celebrate Black Stories” collection.

What’s Happening:


  • Writer and Co-Director Kemp Powers put parts of himself in the character of Joe Gardner, but was also inspired by his school music teacher, Dr. Peter Archer, who also served as a consultant on the film.
  • Angela Bassett provided the voice for Dorothea Williams, whose portrayal was inspired by real-life jazz pianist Dorothy Donegan.

The Princess and the Frog:

  • Elements of Tiana’s personality were inspired by her voice actress, Anika Noni Rose, who also inspired the princess to be left-handed.
  • For Tiana’s passion for cooking, the filmmakers drew inspiration from Leah Chase, the “Queen of Creole Cuisine.”

Red Tails:

  • Writer George Lucas met with surviving Tuskegee Airmen, an all-black air force from World War II, to inspire the fictional main characters in this film.
  • Storyboard Artist David Russell is the son of one of the Tuskegee Airmen, James C. Russell.
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