Mom captures touching moment when son, 2, identifies with 'Encanto' character: 'Black and brown children are getting to see themselves'
We may not talk about Bruno, but thanks to one mom's viral post, everyone's noticing the Encanto character's animated nephew, Antonio.
Kah Brand says during a family movie night last week, her 2-year-old son, Kenzo, made an adorable discovery, realizing he bore an uncanny resemblance to the character from the Disney film, which released in Nov. 2021.
"When Antonio popped up on the screen Kenzo was just staring," Brand tells Yahoo Life. "He was in awe. At some point he turned around to his dad and I sitting on the couch and was smiling: I think he truly thought it was him because there is such a strong resemblance."
In the film Antonio Madrigal is the 5-year-old cousin of main character Mirabel, who receives the magical gift of being able to talk to animals. Antonio is voiced by Ravi Cabot-Conyers, a 10-year-old who also appears in the show #BlackAF on Netflix. In a YouTube video discussing his role in the film, Ravi called voicing Antonio alongside actors like John Leguizamo and Wilmer Valderrama a "dream come true."
Now, Brand says she's the one getting her heart's desire — seeing her child feel represented by an on-screen character.
"It makes my heart happy," says the New York City mom, "As a mom I'm always trying to capture these special moments. Growing up there wasn't much diversity in the way characters looked — that's changing. Black and brown children are getting to see themselves in positive images through characters like the ones on Encanto."
Brand shared images of Kenzo watching the film on @katchingupwithkenzo, an Instagram account she manages for the 2-year-old, using the hashtags #RepresentationMatters and #ThankYouDisney.
"My son saw himself and it made him happy and this made me happy," says Brand, who works in the airline industry. "Representation truly does matter."
But between seeing himself on screen and enjoying the colorful film's catchy music, which includes original songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda, has the toddler reached the point of watching the film on repeat?
"We've watched it again since," says Brand, "but we are those parents that try to limit screen time."
When he does get to sing and dance along with the family Madrigal, Kenzo is still aware of his twinning status with the character.
"He is still pointing out Antonio," says Brand. "We love it."
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