On Friday, six company members from three different productions of "The Lion King," "Aladdin" and "Frozen," delivered a moving virtual performance of "They Live in You," from the Broadway musical "The Lion King," and paid homage to their Black history heroes of the past.
The performance, which was put together by Black business and employee resource groups across the Walt Disney Company, included L. Steven Taylor, Nteliseng Nkhela, Brandon McCall and TyNia Brandon from the Broadway production of "The Lion King," Olivia Donaldson from the Broadway production of "Aladdin" and Mason Reeves from the North American Tour of "Frozen."
Ahead of the performance, Taylor joined "Good Morning America" and said this project was "a major collaboration" and explained that each performer "chose a black historical figure that inspires us."
During the performance, each company member's photograph was paired with their Black History hero. Some of the trailblazing heroes honored were Nina Simone, Jackie Robinson and Ella Fitzgerald.
"Jackie Robinson -- in my opinion -- is the blueprint for what it is to be an activist athlete or in my case an activist artist. Unfortunately, a lot of the same things that Jackie faced is what we face as black performers today and while we honor our responsibility for providing an escape through our art and entertainment we know like Jackie it's our responsibility to stand up for injustice while doing so," Taylor said.
"When we started to think about what we wanted to do this year to celebrate Black History Month, we wanted to also think about the themes in our shows and how there are beautifully just organic pairings between the themes, particularly in 'The Lion King' and the themes within the Black community around family, around community and around honoring the ancestors," said Naila McKenzie, director of inclusion strategy, business affairs and legal counsel for Disney Theatrical Group, who helped put the production together.
"This is really an inspirational, unprecedented amount of coordination between all of the Black Employee Resource Groups within the Walt Disney Company coming together and celebrating this month," she added.