Fans accused Disney of “cheating” after they announced their casting choices for Nani in the upcoming live-action version. Lilo and Stitch.
Disney is pumping out live-action versions of its animated movies left, right, and center. Lilo and Stitch.
This movie was a favorite for many reasons.
Anime flicks have become favorites for many reasons. It was a unique story and gracefully tackled heavy themes such as grief, poverty, and upbringing.
It was also praised for its representation of the Hawaiian people.
Nani, Lilo’s younger sister and legal guardian, was a standout character for many fans.
Many resonated with her and her struggle to keep her family together amidst the chaos of difficult social workers and aliens. She was also loved for representing dark-skinned, curvaceous Islander women in films.
But on April 13, 2023, The Hollywood Reporter shared it. Sydney Agdon — reportedly of British-Irish descent with Hawaiian and Filipino ancestry — was cast in the role of Nani, and some fans resented the choice.
One Twitter user said that Nani’s dark skin had a lot to do with the plot of the film.
“Conflict taking place in Lilo and Stitch Anything about the colonial state trying to separate this small ‘broken’ Native Hawaiian family is made all the more obvious by being both dark-skinned girls,” one user wrote.
In a retweeted post announcing Sydney’s casting, another user simply wrote, “This is clearly whitewashed.”
Personally, Nani and Lilo seemed like part of the family, so it meant a lot to me. I loved Nani and Lilo’s nose and skin tone. It’s rare to see someone with facial and physical features like mine on the big screen, so I was a little upset by this understated choice.
Many took to TikTok to discuss the controversial casting choices.
the radio host of flava drive in New Zealand, Mariner ‘Maz’ Fagaiava-Muller, Sharing his two cents on the matter, Nani’s casting may have been an opportunity to showcase the “fat-bodied women” of the island.
@marinerfxgaiava Let’s talk about casting Sydney Agdon as Nani. This is not meant for her! She is a beautiful woman and I recognize her Hawaiian lineage. It’s directed at Disney’s casting directors, who are probably most likely white, making decisions about movies that millions will watch. Fa’afetai x #fyp #nz #liloandstitch # polynesian ♬ original sound – marinerfxgaiava
“The white world does not know that the poster boys and girls of our culture are always white-skinned Pacific Islanders. must be
“And I think we’re sick of it because it was a chance to take in the many dark-skinned, fat-bodied women on the island,” Maz said.
another TikTok user @glorifics And this is what I got. At the end of the video, a photo of Sydney popped up along with the casting announcement from Twitter.
@glorifikus I wanted a brown nani. Disney has a problem with #colorism that isn’t Hawaiian so shut up #fyp #fypsi #liloandstitch #nanipelekai ♬ OG THE PASTELS – Kneely_Knight
One of the cooked arguments coming out of Lilo and Stitch What is discourse Hal Bailey Cast as Ariel in the following productions little mermaid.
However, as mentioned by Maz and many other users, Ariel was a bloody fictional mermaid and Nani was based on a real person.
Isabelle (known as @Loudcactus Juice on TikTok) talked about little mermaid versus Lilo & Stitch In her video, “Ariel is a mermaid and a fictional character. It doesn’t have as close an ethnic background as Native Hawaiian.”
@loudcactusjuice’s representation in producing, casting, and scripting just matters
A TikToker uploaded a deleted scene from the original 2002’s Lilo & Stitch A film that showed how tourists treated Lilo, a Native Hawaiian girl, and how her ethnicity was important to her character.
@hoodrath0 Lilo & Stitch Deleted Scene #1 #liloandstich #hawaii #disney ♬ Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride (From “Lilo & Stitch”) – Karaoke Version – Urock Karaoke
Of course, it’s not Sidney Agdon’s fault. No one should hate her for taking on this iconic role of hers, it’s just that she didn’t get the chance to cast a dark-skinned Hawaiian who stays true to her original character. It just annoys me.
As Maz said, it was an opportunity to really express it in the film.