You probably opened this article anticipating a factual answer regarding the rightful location of the world’s cherished Taj Mahal. Well, you are correct. That is exactly what you are going to receive. But, such a gift has made you susceptible to red tape. As your author, I could simply answer the basic question with either a yes or a no. What fun would that be, however?

I’m going to do that thing which each of my professors deemed a literary ignorance proceeding something like, You are probably wondering why… . Ready? Okay. You are probably wondering why I have posed such a mediocre question. Well, for one, the question is not mediocre considering the apparent high level of intellect the answer requires. I have come across far too many people [Americans] in my lifetime who had not the capacity to tell me the location of Providence, Rhode Island let alone something as socially third world as the Taj Mahal. Stemming next, I have recently heard through the grapevine the casting of the three most important characters in one of a Disney fan’s top ten favorite mockeries – 1992’s very own, Aladdin. As an adolescent, this was most certainly a favorite tale – unashamed to say it still is even after conducting further research. After feeling a little flabbergasted by the choice in cast for the live edition Aladdin, I checked out the cast for the original animated film. Yes, the Taj Mahal is located in India – Agra, India to be exact. It is also the residence of Princess Jasmine. This provides a collective setting for the animation, a very Disney way of educating. So yes, I made sure to review the choice of cast for the original and yes we have confirmed that the Taj Mahal is indeed in India. I would still like for you to take a lucky guess on the race, color, ethnic background, nationality of the OG Aladdin cast. I think you guessed it, not one Indian.

Equal, rightful, correct representation in the entertainment and film industries has not quite truthfully ever been enforced. With that truth, I was unsure why I – after learning what I learned – was so confused. As an adolescent, I heard not one complaint in the pick of actor for the infamous and beloved Genie, essentially a Middle Eastern taboo, a fool. The world praised Mr. Williams for an incredibly enthusiastic performance. The world praised rather than questioned the corporation’s wealthy ability to travel to the Middle East, to India, to Bollywood – India’s entertainment Mecca – in pursuit of the perfect Middle Eastern Genie. The entirety of the cast is a whopping abundance of Anglo Saxons. That is all fine and dandy for, ya know…a film based out of Europe or a LifeTime premiere, Aladdin is just not the case. Another fan favorite would be Disney’s 1995 Pocahontas, a glamorized truth of another territory caught in discovery. Take a quick glimpse of the cast for Native American roles. Then look at the 1998 Mulan, then the 2003 Brother Bear, and lastly the 2016 Zootopia – a film about a diverse community battling prejudice, sprinkle some pepper and you’ve done film some justice. In 2010, non Anglo Saxon producer and director, M. Night Shyamalan, molested the truth of the Asian Legend of AangAvatar – by once more, casting a people who do not have the ability to channel and embody all that the story is. You probably still watched it though, huh?

Equal, rightful, correct representation in the entertainment and film industries has not quite truthfully ever served as an impediment on box office tickets sales. That M. Night Shyamalan Avatar: The Last Airbender scrutiny I mentioned just a second ago grossed an estimated $2.7 billion in box office sales worldwide. Zootopia trickles in just behind it at an estimated $1 billion, and that is just from American sales. Let’s take it deeper. God’s of Egypt, a 2016 cultural flop that still did numbers looking up at a $10 million profit totaling an estimated $150 million in ticket sales; that is again only from the sales done in America. Gods of Egypt is yet another film lacking pure cultural representation. Swinging back to the masses’ qualms with the cast choice for the 2018 live Aladdin, the masses must confirm and agree that this complex is in fact a recurring one. Disney bandaged the wound, but failed to clean it first. In an effort to appease the public, Aladdin will be played by a young Canadian fellow called Mena Massoud. Deceit. Damsel in distress, Princess Jasmine, will be enacted by an American named Naomi Scott. You see the glass half empty, I see the glass half full. You see the actress as half Indian, I see the actress as half white.

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As a consumer, we choose our intake, we choose the destination of our money. I did not understand as an adolescent my mother’s grievances with Disney as a corporation. I did not understand as an adolescent my mother’s fixation on films inclusive of casts that resembled her and kept true to the narrative. The lack of equal and correct representation within the entertainment and film industries is a recurring complex and so is the audience’s failure to lack that generous support. Viewers have been hit with yet another fairytale that tells on the industries, blatantly ratting them out for impostery. Two actors who will glamorize the old film just enough to increase airline sales on flights to India, that is if the audience can pinpoint the true location of the Taj Mahal. It’s a western territory, right?


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