'Sneakerella': Lexi Underwood, Chosen Jacobs And More Talk Gender Role Reversal And The Representation of Strong Women
Photo Credit: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images
Film , Interviews

'Sneakerella': Lexi Underwood, Chosen Jacobs And More Talk Gender Role Reversal And The Representation of Strong Women

Disney is always going to give a great musical, and the new Disney+ musical film Sneakerella is one you don't want to miss.

Set in the vibrant street-sneaker subculture of New York City, this musical is unlike any other with elements of hip hop, street fashion, and a modern twist on the classic rags to riches story of Cinderella.

The film follows El (Chosen Jacobs), an aspiring sneaker designer from Queens who works in a shoe store that once belonged to his late mother. He hides his artistic talent from his grieving and busy stepfather, and two mean-spirited stepbrothers. When El meets Kira King (Lexi Underwood), the daughter of the legendary basketball star and sneaker tycoon Darius King (John Salley), sparks fly and they have a mutual love of sneakers. With the help of his Fairy Godfather, El turns his passion into power by using his talent to pursue his dream of becoming a ‘legit’ sneaker designer in the industry while simultaneously trying to impress Kira.

Shadow and Act spoke with Salley, Underwood, and Jacobs on the project.

John Salley says the movie is a true embodiment of Black excellence

A real-life basketball legend, the project was of course a no-brainer for Salley. But working alongside Underwood and Jacobs proved to be the best part for Salley, coupled with the storyline being centered on young people of color.

“What drew me in it was a Disney movie, it was a musical, it was hip hop and it was not wack. It’s so dope and I’m so proud to be in this movie,” he told us. “The movie is uplifting. This movie is Black excellence, this movie shows entrepreneurship. This movie is about a generation of wealth. All the things that we talk about, we believe it, and now we see it.” 

Lexi Underwood on how the show is an example of strong womanhood

Underwood was impressed by the gender role reversion aspect of the film. Too many times, she sees projects where the woman is rescued by a knight in shining armor. This storyline was different.

“I wish that there was a way that I had Kiera as a character to watch growing up because it goes back to that girl not being a damsel in distress. She knows what she wants and she’s not allowing her circumstances to define her. She’s not allowing the fact that she’s a girl or, whatever her father says go,” she explained. “She’s not allowing any of that to us mess her up because she’s determined. And she’s also not waiting for a man to rescue her. She’s not waiting for anybody’s approval or for anybody to give her the OK and able to create her own destiny. And I feel like that’s really important for young girls to understand that you don’t have to wait for permission from anybody to create the life that you want.”

 

Chosen Jacobs on why the film is important

Jacobs says the film had all of the ingredients of his favorite meal. Being attached to a Disney project was also something he always dreamed of. More than anything, he thinks the film has a good message.

“As a kid who grew up on this planet, my childhood was filled with these Disney movies, these classic stories. So to have an opportunity as an actor to take a swing at a fantastic movie and story like Cinderella, that has transcended generations – I mean, how could I not go for it? And also to be able to add a modern twist to it. The movie really encompasses all my passions from acting, singing, dancing, music, basketball shoes, and fashion. It’s everything is like a Santa’s Christmas bag.”

Check out the full interviews:

And watch the trailer for the movie below:

Sneakerella is now streaming on Disney+.

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

© 2022 Shadow & Act. All rights reserved.