If you aren’t on Clubhouse, still haven’t gotten an invite, or worse, you have an Android, then you missed one of the greatest moments of a pretty tumultuous 2020.
Clubhouse is a social media app that demands your attention, literally. The conversations, the jokes, the insight, the drama, the moans, you have to be there to be in on the action. There are no retweets or replays, if you miss it, it’s gone. That’s part of what made an audio production of Disney’s classic film The Lion King so special this weekend.
A group of Black creatives (actors, singers, voiceover artists, and talented regular folks with regular jobs) came together to put on a show unlike anything we’ve heard in the modern era of technology and it was EPIC.
#LionKingCH became an instant trending topic on Twitter with thousands of mentions and attracted the attention of folks like Ava DuVernay and Questlove who sang its praises. When it was all said and done, the two “showings” had over 10,000 listeners combined! In an era where video has been the focus of many social media platforms, the fact that people were so compelled by an audio-only experience speaks volumes for the cast, crew, and organizers of this production.
None of this would have happened if not for Noelle Chesnut Whitmore who serves as executive producer as well as the director for #LionKingCH. Her vision led to the onboarding of Kam Dela and Bomani X who both served as music directors in addition to award-winning actor Myles Grier as the voice of Simba and Mir Harris as the voice of Nala. Also playing major roles are Dr. Victor, Minh Do, Brandon Rainey, Tunde Sho, Dai Thompson, Felicia Brathwaite, Aja Monet, Shannon Yang, and actress/producer Gina Belafonte.
There were also several artists who helped create a one-of-a-kind visual experience for the show via the “PTR” (pull to refresh) feature on Clubhouse that told the story in still frames that aided in bringing the original film and this unique audio experience together as one.
If you weren’t there to hear it for yourself, then you might not understand just how creative and innovative this whole concept was and how difficult it must have been to pull off so seamlessly. Ya hate to see it, but at the risk of bragging, we’re glad we’re not you!
Huge congrats to everyone involved including the show’s Black publicist Indya “Icy” Wright. This moment will forever be a part of Christmas on the internet.