Revisiting the Original Disney Channel Movies: Cheetah Girls

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Age doesn’t matter when it comes to original Disney Channel movies. They have been living for years! While Disney has been less focused on making new movies for its TV audiences lately, there is one that stands out throughout the movie library – Cheetah girls. Here’s why.

The importance of the Cheetah Girls

Parents, kids, and young adults credit TV singing to Hannah Montana, but before Disney created the singing sensation, Adrienne Bailon, Kiely Williams, Sabrina Bryan, and Raven-Symoné debuted as Cheetah girls. The Cheetah Girls were not only a group of multi-talented artists, but were also multi-ethnic and made history playing in the first musical for Disney Channel in 2003.

While Raven had already started to make a career out of The Cosby Show and her series on Disney Channel, the role took her career to new levels. Her casting mates also enjoyed additional success.

Their collective success, however, allowed not only the later introduction of shows like Hannah Montana, but also other musicals like Musical High School and Camp rock. It showed the Disney Channel that there was an audience for characters who had a creative talent and wanted to express their emotions. These characters can be both female and male and come from different backgrounds. They highlighted characters from a lower socio-economic background (Camp rock) and more focused on the role of the creative arts on men (Musical High School).

The best depiction of this was shown in the movie Let it shine. The original 2012 Disney Channel film featured a predominantly African-American cast and focused on hip-hop and rap music. In the film, the main character asks his friend to rap his lyrics about his love because of his shyness. Although it follows the “musical” arc of the previous films, it has branched out into the type of music distribution, proving the effect of the original musical in the Disney Channel Original Movie franchise.

What’s your favorite Disney Channel original movie? Sound off below in the comments. We would like to know.


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