Animation character

Boy watching Encanto sees himself in Antonio’s character

If seeing is believing, consider 2-year-old Kenzo a true believer in the power of representation.

This week at a family screening of Disney’s Encanto, Kah Brand noticed the moment his son realized that one of the characters, a young boy named Antonio, looked a lot like him.

“He seemed impressed, he was just smiling and staring at the screen,” she told POPSUGAR. “Then he stood up and looked at his dad and me, still smiling. For him, I really believe he thought he was seeing himself because of the resemblance between him and Antonio.”

“It’s essential that black children feel seen and connected to positive and empowering images for their self-esteem.”

Kenzo isn’t alone: ​​When Kah posted the photo of himself proudly standing next to the TV screen on Instagram, his friends and family couldn’t contain their excitement at the similarities.

“As a mom, I always try to capture ‘those’ moments,” she said. “I was amazed at his reaction. It really made me smile and my heart happy.”

But for her, it wasn’t just the resemblance that mattered.

“It was the impact of feeling seen,” Kah added. “It’s essential that black children feel seen and connected to positive and empowering images for their self-esteem.”

In reality, Encanto sparked a conversation in her – a conversation in which everyone tried to think of a character from their own childhood that they connected with.

“But those characters weren’t there,” she said, referring to her own generation. “We didn’t have that growing up. What’s so special about Encanto was that he didn’t stop showing us brown characters. It showed the diversity of hair textures and skin tone. I’m so grateful for times like this because I’m aware of its impact, especially for brown boys and girls. It brings joy to our family. There is power in representation and magic in creativity. This generation and future generations will experience inclusivity because the film industry is moving in a direction that reflects the true diversity of our world.”

Image source: Mark Kaheisha