Disney Channel and Nickelodeon once limited their celebration of LGBT Pride Month to social media platforms, but are now broadcasting commercials placing the issue in front of America’s children.
A June commercial sponsored and aired by the Disney Channel featured a smiling Raven-Symoné, who is lesbian, discussing LGBT pride, even though she never says “gay,” “lesbian” or any other word in the acronym.
“We're in a new age where it's not just black and white anymore. We have purple, red and the entire rainbow,” Raven-Symoné says in the ad. “Everybody wants to be treated with respect and it's beautiful. I love being able to come together with all walks of life – all ages, all colors and celebrating the unity of being our authentic selves. Pride to me is strength. Pride is selfless. Pride is friends, family. Pride is you.”
The Disney Channel ad ends with the phrase “Celebrate Pride” sprawled across the screen against a rainbow background and the Disney Channel logo. The commercial ran over the weekend during an episode of Bunk’d (TV-G).
Nickelodeon broadcast ads in June featuring various LGBT individuals. For example, an ad on Sunday during The Loud House (TV-Y7) spotlighted actress Amandla Stenberg, who is lesbian. The commercial includes images of Stenberg and “Pride Month” graphics.
“We celebrate the activism of Amandla Stenberg,” a narrator says. “Amandla is an actress, artist and activist who starred in the Hunger Games when she was just 13 years old. She came out proudly as gay in 2018, and in an interview with Teen Vogue, Amanda said, ‘I cannot stress enough how important representation is. So the concept that I can provide that for other black girls is mind-blowing.’
“We still have a long way to go, but powerful voices like Amandla are helping us become prouder together,” the narrator concludes.
On social media, some applauded the commercials.
“Whoever is responsible for @Nickelodeon right now is doin (sic) soooo (sic) great!!! … I frequently watch nick as an adult and I’m so proud,” one person tweeted.
Others, though, thought the commercials crossed a line.
“No more @Nickelodeon at my house, gay pride commercials and promotions. I have a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old,” one person tweeted.
“This is a childrens (sic) network they shouldn't be focusing on sexual orientation,” another person tweeted. “... I have no problem with #LBGTQ just not a topic for kids.”
Photo courtesy: ©Disney
Video courtesy: ©Disney
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.