Disney is under pressure to reconsider its trademark on Lion King phrase Hakuna Matata.
The corporation has begun to build up the hype for the highly anticipated live-action remake of its classic Lion King – but not without some hiccups.
The brand is facing backlash over its trademark of the Swahili phrase hakuna matata, which famously appears in the original movies first released in 1994.
Zimbabwean activist Shelton Mpala started an online petition calling on Disney to renounced its trademark of the expression, which is often used in eastern and southern Africa and loosely translates to no worries.
While we respect Disney as an entertainment institution responsible for creating many of our childhood memories, the decision to trademark “Hakuna Matata” is predicated purely on greed and is an insult not only the spirit of the Swahili people but also, Africa as a whole, Mpala writes in the Change.org petition, which has more than 130,000 signatures.
The criticism first began online and was heightened with a column in Kenyas Business Daily Africa, which compared Disneys trademark of the expression to cultural appropriation.
It is unfortunate that there has been a lot of pilferage of African culture over the years, through the use of intellectual property rights, wrote Cathy Mputhia.
This means that heritage that ought to belong to a certain group of people is instead pilfered using legal methods, whereby third parties end up being awarded sole rights.
Disney applied for the trademark in 1994, at the same time of The Lion Kings release, to protect their use of the phrase on Disney merchandise.
The company said in a statement to CBR: Disneys registration for “Hakuna Matata,” which was filed in 1994, has never and will not prevent individuals from using that phrase.
Metro.co.uk have contacted reps for Disney for comment.
The trailer for the Lion King reached 224.6 million global views in 24 hours when it was released at the end of November, making it Disneys most-viewed trailer debut ever and had fans (including us) sobbing as we got a glimpse of the live action versions of all our favourite characters.
With a star-studded cast, boasting Beyonce Knowles, Donald Glover, Seth Rogen and John Oliver, the film is set to be released on 19 July 2019. Were not prepared.
However, some fans are a little bit skeptical about how live-action the film actually is, with CGI animals and scenes that look almost identical to the classic 1994 Disney animated feature
Live action Lion King? That makes as much sense as the animators from 1994 calling their Lion King live action, one pointed out.
wow I just watched that new lion king trailer and I completely misunderstood what live action meant because I kept waiting for beyonce to appear in a lion costume, another added.
The Lion King is set to hit cinemas in July 2019.
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