Through the Years of Annie

Lola Akinlade, Staff Writer

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Because of Annie’s ambition, adventurous-mind, kind-spirit, and overall loveable characteristics, she has been seen in several stories, plays, and movies.

According to IMDb, the first “Annie” was released in 1982. The latest “Annie” was released Dec. 19. The star of the first “Annie” was Aileen Quinn, who portrayed Annie as a Caucasian girl with curly red hair. However, just recently “Annie” (2014) was given a different image. Quvenzhané Wallis, the star of “Annie” 2014, is an African-American girl with big curly brown hair.

“I personally think it’s great to have an African-American Annie. I mean, why not? Why not change it…you know, it could have been a Native American Annie. It could have been an Indian Annie. It could have been an Australian Annie. It could have been a Chinese Annie…I mean it doesn’t matter what color her skin is,” freshman Emily Benish stated.

Despite the 2014 Annie being African-American, some appear to prefer the original image of Annie. For example, according to The News Journal, a publication in Delaware,  a recent 2014 Target ad showed a model that was a Caucasian Annie, instead of an African-American Annie. This sparked controversy.

“Though the model is quite professional, she does not speak to the relevance of the (2014) movie or the main character…” said the petition from LaSean Shelton, which, within a week, gained nearly 16,000 signatures.

Benish supports the petitioner’s position: “I definitely think that Target wasn’t thinking in their right minds, considering the lead of this movie, Annie in this movie, wasn’t Caucasian. I don’t know why you would change it to be that way. If this clothing line is really for this 2014 movie, they need to realize things have changed, and characters are being changed throughout films. You need to just go with it. I mean, if you look in the Hunger Games series, Katniss technically wasn’t supposed to be white. She was supposed to be more of a  Native American type. People have erased that, people don’t care that she was changed white. That was fine. In this movie, we are saying Annie isn’t white and doesn’t have red curly hair, so you’re going to have to respect that. I think that Target wasn’t in the right place and shouldn’t have done that.”

On the other hand, freshman Emma Burlew thought it may have been a way to just promote Target’s clothes.

“I think that it is a little bit racist, however that could be just a model for Target, and she is just promoting Target…” she stated.

In response to Shelton’s petition, Target defended against accusations they ran a  racist ad campaign .

“With regard to the marketing of the collection, girls from a variety of backgrounds were featured within the campaign, reflecting that anyone can embody the spirit and character of Annie,” Target said.

Regardless of 2014 Annie’s progressive approach, overall, it didn’t do so well on screen. According to Rotten Tomatoes, 27 percent of critics liked it, while for the original 1982 Annie, 50 percent of critics liked it.

“I liked the 1982 better, because it was more family friendly and heartfelt, and I like the original songs….I think they thought they could make money by turning Annie into a modern upbeat [movie] with many celebrities,” Burlew stated.

As said on Rotten Tomatoes, some of the negativity from the 2014 Annie is due to its overdone clichés, cheesy cuteness, and a “distasteful materialism.” Despite the negative reviews, Annie 2014 is full of likeable cast members.

“I personally liked the 2014 version better. I thought it was a very family fun, uplifting story. It definitely was an uplifting story of this orphan and this rich billionaire… I enjoyed it more because it was set in modern day, and I thought it was more relatable than the 1982 version,” Benish stated.

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