“Soul” (Streaming on Disney+, Prime Video, Apple TV and YouTube)
“Soul,” Pixar’s first film to feature an African American protagonist, follows Joe Gardner, a middle school music teacher with dreams of becoming a jazz star. When Joe dies prematurely before receiving his big break, he gets a second chance at his fantasy from him when he accidentally enters the Great Before — a place that prepares unborn souls for real life. Not only does this film explore the intricacies of life and death, “Soul” features a predominantly Black voice cast, ranging from Jamie Foxx to Angela Bassett to Daveed Diggs.
Co-director and screenwriter Kemp Powers, who is also Pixar’s first Black writer-director, doesn’t see the film as a “Black” movie, but instead honors the universal story from the perspective of a Black man. “Joe could have been of any race — but if Joe was going to be a Black man it was really important that he feel authentically of that group. I didn’t want him to seem like a stereotypical character that was just painted black,” Kemp told TheWrap.