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13th Jan 2022

Representation matters: Toddler delighted by Disney character who looks like him

Laura Grainger

Too cute (and uncanny).

With all the bad news and negativity floating around on social media in our current climate, we’ll take absolutely any wholesomeness we can get.

That’s why a viral photo of a two-year-old boy discovering his very own Disney doppelgänger instantly made us smile.

A mum in the US, Kaheisha Brand, shared two photos on Instagram of her son, Kenzo Brooks, noticing his resemblance to a character while watching Encanto with his family.

Originally posted on New Year’s Eve, the photo then went viral on other platforms as social media users shared in the little boy’s joy of seeing himself represented on screen.

In the first snap, Kenzo smiles as he stands next to the television on which the character of Antonio Madrigal appears.

In the next, he’s watching his animated twin intently while sitting on the floor.

“Check Kenzo out in the new Disney Movie ‘Encanto’ lol,” Brand captioned the post, adding the hashtags “#representationmatters” and “#ThankYouDisney”.

Kaheisha and Kenzo’s dad, Keith Brooks, told Good Morning America  that they were also stunned by the similarities between their son and the character.

“My initial reaction was, I remember we first see him turn back and look at us and we were like, ‘Whoa.’ It just took us aback,” Keith said. “I said, ‘Does he notice this looks like him?’ And just to see his reaction afterwards as he sat down on the floor and just tuned in as you can see in that video — he just also clapped.”

He added: “That photo you saw where he’s standing next to the character, Antonio, it was just extremely like off-guard. We caught it and we captured that moment and it was amazing.”

“It means the world to me,” Kaheisha said, sharing that she was thrilled her son had an experience she didn’t have growing up.

“I do believe there is power in representation and it does empower young Black and brown children,” she continued.

“It made me feel emotional to know that my son was able to see this and have that experience,” Keith added. “And for so many other Black and brown boys and girls to be able to have that same experience.”

Encanto follows a Colombian family’s adventures in their enchanting village. Since its release, the film won the Golden Globe award for Best Animated Feature Film.