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Do gorillas, rap and gangs make kid’s film ‘Sing’ racist?

Scene from the movie Sing (Photo Source: Illumination Entertainment)

Scene from the movie Sing (Photo Source: Illumination Entertainment)

The new kid’s film Sing is causing allegations of racist stereotypes among many people in social media. The entertaining movie features a storyline where the main character is a young gorilla that aspires to be a rap star. His father runs a gang and is incarcerated after his son backs out of a robbery. Describing Black people as gorillas has been a long-standing insult by racists towards Black Americans. First lady Michelle Obama has been referred to as a “gorilla in heels.” Carl Paladino, who served as Trump’s campaign co-chair in the New York area, recently shared his racist views on radio and called first lady Michelle Obama a man and to let her loose in Zimbabwe where she would live in a cave with a gorilla.

A Georgia school teacher was fired after posting on Facebook, “This poor gorilla. How is she going to function in the real world…She needs to focus on a total makeover.” Earlier this year, SNL star Leslie Jones found her website hacked and nude pictures of her were posted along with comments calling her a gorilla. At East Tennessee State University, Tristan Rettke, a White freshman, wore a gorilla mask and carried a sack with a Confederate flag printed on the side. He eventually reached in the sack and pulled out bananas in front of the Black students. At one point, he tied a noose around the banana in a manner that would mimic lynching.

Some Twitter users posted their feelings against the film:

“Why in this new #Sing movie they got the black gorillas as inmates…SMDH-“

“Animated movie #Sing is racist as sh-t, sheesh”

Other Twitters users have stated that people are overreacting:

“People complaining about racism in the movie. Isn’t more racist to see the gorillas and bears as minorities rather than animals?”

“The Sing movie wasn’t nowhere near racist or sexist or homophobic. None of that. It was a movie that says you can overcome any fear you got.”

The question is, are Blacks becoming too sensitive in responding and identifying with gorillas in a kids film?


  1. Lexibabe on December 29, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Being a black person I don’t see it as racist because the way the character is portrayed he’s the one that sings “stay with me” a white song and both him and the father are actually played by white people also there’s nothin black about the way they dress the character or have him act. So calling it racist is a bit of a stretch.

    • Reeves on January 2, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      If anything, the critics are being racist for seeing gorillas in jail and thinking of black people.

  2. Eve Moran on December 30, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Frankly, having seen the film, I thought the Japanese red panda girl band was a lot more racist. The gorillas might bring up a stereotype, but there was nothing telegraphing them as black, unless it’s just them having a gang that brings that up. They are voiced by white actors, they reminded me more of the Krays. And their narrative was quite sweet, about a father recognizing his son’s dream and sharing his joy in success. So I see it, and it’s a good occasion for discussion.

  3. Reeves on January 2, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Actually, the young gorilla, Johnny, doesn’t even rap. He sings Stay with Me and plays the piano. On a side note, people see gorillas in jail and the first thing they think of is black people? Not sure if the people who made Sing are the ones being racist.

    • Lexibabe on January 3, 2017 at 1:31 pm

      Exactly great point.

  4. Sharhonda Blue Streets on January 8, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    I took my kids to see this movie and we enjoyed it!! I guess because ive never thought of the gorrilla’s as representing me or other blacks I didn’t see it that way.. We are reading a bit much into this movie. Gorilla = gorilla.

    • Dan Christie on March 5, 2017 at 9:28 am

      Racist? What?? I bet it’s not even black people saying this. A bunch of sjw’s no doubt. The inmates were the rest of his gang by the way! Also, he wasn’t aspiring to become a rap star anyway?? People are constantly trying to start some sh*t. Grow up and stop being such pathetic maggots.

  5. J. on March 21, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Well, I am white, and I have not yet seen the movie. I have seen the trailer only, but….it did give me reservations. I feel like the gorillas in this show ARE coded black; they are fulfilling a lot of anti-black stereotypes (such as the absent or distant father, the criminal family, etc), and the young gorilla seems to be filling the annoying trope of the repentant black person that is so common in films (the ‘this is one of the good ones!’ attitude). It is one thing to be racist by looking at an animal and thinking of a black person, but it is also another to be upset when you recognize a non-human character as being coded to resemble bigoted stereotypes. I’ll have to see the movie before I really judge, though…

    • Linda F. on March 25, 2017 at 12:07 am

      Some would say that *you* are a racist for leaping to the conclusion that the gorillas are supposed to represent black people.

      And yes, watch the movie before you make any judgments.