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Variety

Bruce W. Smith and Ralph Farquhar Discuss Proud Family: Louder and Prouder

Courtesy of Disney + Originals 

Disney’s favorite Black family is back for another season filled with laughter and life lessons. Creators of the popular sitcom “Proud Family,” Bruce W. Smith and Ralph Farquhar, had just found out they were nominated for the 2023 GLAAD awards when they sat down to  to answer questions about the second season of the reboot, “Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.”

“Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” is the latest version of the original Disney channel animated television show. The show aired on the Disney channel in the early 2000s and was Disney’s first Black animated show. 

According to Farquhar, the reboot is more outspoken about real-life problems compared to its 2001 counterpart.

“We can speak the truth in a more direct way because we were geared for the entire family viewing experience as opposed to just the children aspect of it,” Farquhar said. The original show put the audience in a child’s point of view, which didn’t make it easy for the creators to address issues that affect all walks of life, something that the reboot will do.

Both versions of the show are primarily based on its main character, Penny Proud, a Black teenage girl that faces issues with friendship, relationships, and family dynamics while she goes through middle school. The show was meant to give an honest, inclusive look into a traditional Black family thriving, something that the creators have continued to do with the reboot.

“‘The Proud Family’ was such a staple show, especially among young Black children,” said senior journalism major Cory Utsey. “I believe that it influenced Disney animation by showing that success can be attained when diversity is prioritized… ‘The Proud Family’ proved that making an effort to represent the children who watch your programs in a non-monolithic way is always beneficial in the long run.” 

The same Penny Proud that first premiered on Disney Channel years ago is now in high school, with a different mindset on how she approaches life in Smithville. Now that the world has changed over 21 years, the show’s dynamics have also changed. Farquhar expressed that this time around, they do not have to speak code about gender identification roles and serious issues that affect adults.  

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“Quite frankly, one of the biggest differences between 2001 and today is gender identification in terms of the LGBTQ community,” Farquhar said. “In terms of a portrayal of characters specifically; Michael, which before we had to be sort of a speaking code about his gender identification.” 

Smith stated that in the second season, audiences can expect bolder storytelling and a deeper dive into everything Black and the issues the Black community faces. He also stated that the audience could see different points of view. 

“Expect some real challenging stories. If you will, we kind of jump into our Blackness,” Smith said. “In the second season, you’ll see the storylines focus on some of the other characters such as Maya, KG, and Zoey.”

“Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” aims to bring a new generation in while also reminding past viewers of what made the original show so great. The second season will have 10 episodes and will air on Disney Plus on Wednesday, Feb. 1. 

Copy edited by Alana Matthew

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