In Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear”, Keke Palmer’s portrayal of Izzy Hawthorne opens up an important conversation about representation. In 2022, telling authentic stories has slowly become the norm in an industry that hasn’t always gotten it right.
Keke Palmer has always been an advocate for strong representation of Black characters on the small and big screen. Especially Black women. Just look at her resume. She has titles like “Akeelah and the Bee”, “True Jackson, VP”, and, more recently, “Hustlers” under her belt. So, her interpretation of Izzy is completely natural.
Palmer told inews that “Lightyear” is proof of progress. Even including the minor detail of Izzy’s natural hair is powerful.
Palmer’s comedic timing in “Lightyear” and in her every day life is unparalleled. That’s a fact. But she also has a penchant for shining a spotlight on the issues that matter. This deserves more attention and praise.
Keke Palmer has a point. Diversity still matters.
Her June 2022 interview with Yahoo! proves how important it is to champion diversity and inclusion. Hollywood has struggled to depict marginalized groups without the harmful stereotypes.
She commented on the idea that this film is what Andy from “Toy Story” watched in the 1990s. “I love that,” Palmer exclaimed. “It also pushes towards the reality that these kinds of people have always been a part of the storyline. A lot of times, it has not been showcased on films and television and things like that.”
Here’s how to watch “Lightyear”.
As a result, “Lightyear” has received a lot of backlash for its inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters. In an interview with Newsweek, producer Galyn Susman highlighted that it was important to make audiences everywhere feel seen.
The screen you watch the film on goes a long way towards receiving that statement. I watched “Lightyear” in Dolby Cinema. My experience hearing the audience root for certain characters (Izzy being one of them) will stay with me forever. We got an up close and personal look at the cinematography, and naturally become more invested in the story and its emotional impact. Plus, the sound was unparalleled and surrounded us.