Annie has crossed the racial divide… but where is the ginger tradition?

  ·  19th January 2015

It seems there is outrage stateside over Target’s recent advertising campaign for its new clothing line for kids based on 2014’s movie revamp of the classic “Annie” musical. This video sums up the issue:

Of course what nobody seems to mention here is that Annie originally became famous as a ginger girl. Whether on the Broadway stage or in any of the previous movie adaptations of the famous musical, the actress playing Annie either had to don a ginger wig or be a natural redhead herself. It was synonymous with the role itself and iconic for the ginger community as a whole.

And so, as a ginger-loving website it is hard for us to swallow the manufactured outrage at this scandal because the underlying outburst of “that’s not Annie!” is resoundingly true of the new, African-American representation of the character which completely eschews the redheaded tradition:

Quvenzhané Wallis

Annie 2014 vs Annie of ginger tradition

Let us be clear: the issue here is not whether or not Annie should be black or white. In 2015 that issue is entirely irrelevant and traditions are always meant to be challenged, so we fully support Quvenzhan√© Wallis’ portrayal of the character. The issue is the lopsided reaction toward the controversial in-store poster. This is the poster:

Controversial Target Annie poster

An Annie who is neither ginger or black

The outrage is that this is a white person representing the Annie range, not a black one as per the new movie. Per the petition on Change.org,

When the original Annie came out, everything was about Aileen Quinn or a character/person that emulated her…why not now?

This is a fair point, however what is being totally ignored is that the racially acceptable variant of the poster does not have a redhead in it at all:

Multiracial Target poster for their Annie range

Spot the redhead in this poster

Political correctness is a bit of a poisoned chalice at the best of times, but when the sword of racial outrage is being waved then it should be on behalf of equality across all divides. In the case of Annie, thanks to the new movie there are now two iconic portrayals of the character that speak to different generations of young girls: both should be represented in posters that embody the franchise.

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