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Daily Helping for April 24th, 2021 – Jhené Aiko – Lead the Way

A photo still of singer Jhené Aiko from the music video for Lead the Way. She is standing in a colourful room, wearing an off the shoulder multi-colour dress and headband, looking off to the left.

Movie theatres have been closed since October, and while I’ve enjoyed catching up on Netflix, I dearly miss going to the movies. Seeing a film in a theatre is one of my favourite pastimes. There’s something about the experience of watching a movie on the big screen that simply can’t be replicated at home, and it’s not just about the size of the screen. It’s about the communal experience of watching a story unfold alongside others. Of sharing in that experience and feeling the energy from those around you. It was this experience that was all I could think about while watching this video by Jhené Aiko.

“Lead the Way” is a song from Raya and the Last Dragon, the most recent animated Disney film to be released. I have yet to see this film, as it has not yet been made available on Disney+ in France, but I can’t wait. The animation looks gorgeous and the voice cast is fantastic. I don’t know much about the story, as I like to go into movies with as little foreknowledge as possible, but any movie with Awkwafina playing a mystical dragon had me at hello. I stumbled upon this song while I was randomly clicking through YouTube, and it would appear that the music is great as well. So again, I can’t wait to see this film.

However, as mentioned above, what struck me the most while watching “Lead the Way” was just how much I’m looking forward to going back to the movies. I love Disney movies, so I’m always first in line when a new one is released. But I particularly love going to see Disney movies in a theatre full of kids. I know that sounds very creepy, but hear me out.

The first movie I remember seeing in theatres was Beauty and the Beast, and it was an incredibly formative experience for me. It was the first movie that made me cry, it managed to convince me that randomly breaking into song is a normal part of life, and I can trace my ever-growing pile of books directly back to my connection with Belle as a child. Watching that movie in that darkened theatre all those many long years ago was a magical experience for me. And now, as an adult, I can’t tell you the depths to which it warms my heart to see other children having similar magical experiences. Yes, I love Disney movies, and yes, I see them in theatres because I want to see them. But I also love sitting among dozens of children, listening to them laugh and squeal in delight as the latest animated wonder unfolds in front of us. It’s an entirely different kind of magical experience, but it is magical nonetheless.

I have no idea when movie theatres will re-open. But when they do, I can only hope that Raya and the Last Dragon will finally get a cinematic release. It’s been a tough year, and there’s nothing like the laughter of children to raise your spirits. In the meantime, I have Jhené Aiko and “Lead the Way” to tide me over. It’s a beautiful song, and I can’t wait to see it in action.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!