- Damaris Chanza
The Proud Family Louder and Prouder Doesn't Shy Away From Crucial Topics
The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder impress with another incredible season.
Season 2 of The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder premiered just in time for Black History Month on February 1, 2023. The 10-episode season stays true to the original series, focusing on family and modern themes.
After waiting a year for the season 2 premiere, it concludes season 1's cliffhanger on Suga Momma's relationship with her sexist father. When she saves Oscar from a bull, Suga Momma, or Charlotte, is finally accepted by her father as a bull riding rodeo champion despite her gender.
Although the season has some fun storylines like the blue puppy wars between the Proud and Boulevardez families, Oscar and Bobby's R&B music group, and Lacienega's Olympic journey, the show does not shy away from touching on more serious topics.
"The End of Innocence," the 6th episode, touches on colorism when a famous actor, Noah Barker, only dates white girls causing a rift between the characters. Zoey and the rest of the girls argue while dressed as princesses. Colorism is an uncomfortable topic for many, but Zoey eventually accepts that she "didn't get it" and is willing to make changes for her friends who did.
In the penultimate episode entitled "BeBe," the Proud family grapples with learning that BeBe is on the autism spectrum. At first, Oscar denies the diagnosis, refusing to enroll BeBe in a special school, but eventually, he realizes the school is what's best for BeBe to thrive. This development to BeBe's character feels natural due to his actions in both series compared to his twin sister, CeCe. Other than autism representation, a nice aspect of this storyline is watching the rare father-son relationship between Oscar and BeBe.
The season finale, "Juneteenth," is the most impactful, with topics of police brutality, slavery, and questionable historical figures. Maya starts a peaceful protest when she finds out the town's founder was a slave owner, but despite her white police father's attempt, she and her friends are arrested. The episode teaches about the emancipation proclamation and the whitewashing of history.
Although it wasn't the episode's main plot, the spoken word debate on reparations in "Curved" is a perfect example of how well the show incorporates lessons about black culture and history without feeling preachy. The episode was about prioritizing your friends even when you're in a romantic relationship, but another message is relayed through the lens of a school debate.
Of course, not every episode has such a profound message, but it still includes subtle references to pop culture. A funny reference to Lil Baby through a quick mention of a performer named Lil Toddler appears in the episode featuring R&B music. The actor who only likes white girls is from a show called Odder Things, a reference to Netflix's Stranger Things.
The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder has been criticized for its depictions of race and representation of the LGBTQ+ community to a youthful audience, but I believe this critique is unfounded. These themes and topics are presented in digestible and natural ways. Teenage girls liking a boy brought up colorism, a school debate brought up reparations, a fall after a series of strange behaviors resulted in an autism diagnosis, and queer teenagers finding romance are not unlikely scenarios. I commend Louder and Prouder for packaging these crucial topics and themes in a memorable and entertaining way, making everyone yearn for a season 3.