Disney Branded Television’s ‘Firebuds’ Addresses Disability Representation In Upcoming Episodes; Yvette Nicole Brown And Lou Diamond Phillips Among Guest Stars
Disney Branded Television’s animated series Firebuds from Emmy-winning creator and executive producer Craig Gerber (Disney’s Elena of Avalor and Sofia the First) follows a team of young first responders and their talking vehicle sidekicks.
Two upcoming episodes, titled “Cleft Hood” and “All That Jazzy,” will spotlight disability representation addressing volunteerism, community service, teamwork, wheelchair use, and cleft palate disorder. Each episode includes characters voiced by Lou Diamond Phillips, Melissa Rauch, Yvette Nicole Brown, Lauren “Lolo” Spencer, Tatiana Lee and Ali Stroker.
First up, “Cleft Hood” introduces a new vehicle character named Castor, who was born with a cleft hood. It was written by Jeremy Shipp, part of the Emmy-winning writing team behind Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, and inspired by his own son, Henry, who was born with a cleft lip and palate.
“All That Jazzy” focuses on Spencer’s character Jazzy, who wants to be the star of a dance performance. After watching a performance starring dancers Ayanna and Gliderbella, Jazzy vows to prove she is ready to be a lead dancer too.
“With one in five individuals living with a disability, it is vitally important that disabled children see themselves represented on screen, and for non-disabled children to see disabled peers being fully involved in community life,” said Lauren Appelbaum, SVP Communications and Entertainment & News Media at RespectAbility. “Firebuds helps achieve this in so many ways. I particularly love the storyline of Castor, which allows children with a variety of medical conditions who have to miss school for hospital visits and doctor appointments to not feel alone. Having a disability can sometimes feel like a lonely experience, but it’s important for disabled kids to learn they are not alone.”
“Cleft Hood” premieres Friday, March 10 at 11:30 a.m. ET on Disney Channel, 1:25 p.m. ET p.m. on Disney Junior and will be available to stream on Disney+ starting March 15. “All That Jazzy” premieres March 15 on Disney+ and airs Friday, April 7 on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.