Michael Paulson, a theater reporter, was treated to a joyful performance of a song from the animated movie 'Encanto.'
Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 4, 2022. It has since been updated.
There's no telling what you're going to encounter on the New York subway and some rides can warm your heart and make your day. Michael Paulson, a theater reporter, was pleasantly surprised when he had a group of kids for company and they all broke into song during the ride. The kids, who were predominantly African American, started singing "We Don't Talk About Bruno" from the animated movie "Encanto" on the subway. Paulson took to Twitter to share the video and said the kids certainly put a smile on his face. "Some days New York City is hard," wrote Paulson. "But then there are days when you find yourself on a subway car filled with children singing 'We Don't Talk About Bruno.' Today was one of those days," he wrote.
Some days New York City is hard. But then there are days when you find yourself on a subway car filled with children singing "We Don't Talk About Bruno." Today was one of those days. pic.twitter.com/4kI8U2Z3KZ— Michael Paulson (@MichaelPaulson) August 2, 2022
The tweet garnered more than 61,000 likes and was shared 6,000 times. People couldn't help but shower love on the video with some even sharing their own memories. "I grew up in NYC in the 80s and 90s and some of my best school memories are from taking the subway on class trips. We were usually a little more disruptive than these kids!" wrote one person. "I co-coached a Little League team of first-graders this year, and, uh, pretty much every practice was like this," wrote one person. Another added, "I was at a restaurant a couple of weeks ago and a few tables full of kids were singing this song then, too. I didn't realize public sing-alongs of it were so popular but it was such a good time seeing them have so much fun singing." Even the New York subway alerts account couldn't help but jump in on the fun. "This is just pure unadulterated gold! Made us smile so hard, thanks for sharing!" tweeted the account.
Aw…those sweet voices would make my day! And yes, I use public transit in Toronto to get to and from work, so I get it. Summer commuting is always a little different, ya just gotta go with flow!— Lee💛💙 (@weelass21) August 3, 2022
Disney's "Encanto" has also been hailed for its diverse characters. "Encanto" is "the story of an extraordinary family — the Madrigals — who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia in a magical place called an Encanto. The magic of town has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift — every child except one, Mirabel." From color complexions to natural hair and accents, the movie championed diversity and inclusion. As we reported, many therapists have lauded the movie's approach to trauma and healing and say it's become a great tool to help first-generation immigrants and other people of color. "There are so many layers, so many dynamics... I think [the movie is] going to have a great impact on society. People are seeing this movie and they're realizing they're seeing themselves in it," said Kadesha Adelakun, a therapist from Georgia.
There have been countless videos of small children identifying with the characters from "Encanto." One woman shared an image of her 2-year-old son standing in front of the TV alongside a still from "Encanto" smiling from ear to ear. Kaheisha Brand was watching Disney's Encanto with her 2-year-old son Kenzo when a character that looked just like him came on screen. Kenzo's connection with the character Antonio was almost immediate and he couldn't help smiling. When Kenzo saw that his curly hair and brown skin matched the character's appearance, he was glued to the TV and followed Antonio's journey keenly. Kenzo thought he was seeing himself onscreen. His Mom, Kaheisha, shared an image of her son standing beside Antonio, all smiles. She also posted one of Kenzo watching "himself" on screen. She captioned the Instagram post: "Check Kenzo out in the new Disney Movie 'Encanto' lol." Brand says it just shows how important for pop culture to be inclusive. "He instantly lit up, and turned to us, and was smiling and that made me take the picture because it made my heart happy that it brought such enjoyment to him," she said.
Kenzo's father Keith Brooks and Brand say they're happy to have chosen "Encanto" for their child to watch. "One of the themes that it presented was family, and how strong family is, and how strong family can be when it's united," said Brooks. "To be able to see the people of Colombia and the different skin complexions they have and to be able to see yourself in other areas of the world that you didn't necessarily know about, I thought that was extremely powerful. And I thought 'Encanto' was the first movie film on any aspect that touched upon Afro Latina and Latinos and Colombia."