At the time of this post, over 187K+ people signed the petition in that link above. I’m one of them because I practice what I preach.
Some of you may have seen my #TrademarkWars post not too long ago. I’m not sorry for repeating the information, but some of this maybe new to some of you. For those of you who didn’t see that earlier post, let me give you the scoop. Disney owns a trademark for the words “Hakuna Matata”.
“But Ospreyshire, that’s a stupid thing to worry about!” You might say. “What’s the big deal?”
It’s because making a dollar of a foreign phrase is cultural appropriation. That’s why.
This offends me more than The Lion King ripping off Kimba the White Lion, and that’s saying something. The thing is “Hakuna Matata” has been a very common phrase that the Swahili-speaking world (examples: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, DRC, etc.) has said for centuries. Disney acts like they can just own foreign words like some kind of hidden treasure. That’s colonizer thinking right there. Could you imagine the outrage if Disney or any other conglomerate were to trademark foreign phrases such as “C’est La Vie” from the French or “Que Sara Sara” from the Italians? Everybody would riot if that were to happen. Even English speakers know what those phrases mean and would call out something like that. Keep in mind, even Paris Hilton couldn’t trademark “That’s hot” and Donald Trump couldn’t trademark “You’re fired” when The Apprentice was a hit show, so what does that tell you? I guess since this involves Africans, then they don’t matter in Disney’s eyes by taking a common saying that’s spoken throughout multiple countries in that continent.
Cultural appropriation is another form of racism as it steals from others while benefiting the appropriator. I’m sick and tired of people getting away with thieving cultural elements that clearly never belonged to them to the first place. The Swahili speaking public got nothing out of this trademark even though they’ve been saying it long before the invention of animation.
If this irks you that colonialism still permeates even in kids movies, then I would urge you to sign.
Hakuna Matata: Not some remorse-free philosophy