Janelle Monae is to "reinvent" the problematic Siamese cat song for the Lady and the Tramp reboot.
Directed by Charlie Bean, the upcoming live-action adaptation of the 1955 animated classic will feature Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux as the voices of the titular American Cocker Spaniel and Miniature Schnauzer, respectively, with the voice cast rounded out by Sam Elliott, Ashley Jensen, Benedict Wong and Monae.
However, editors at Variety are now reporting that the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter is to also perform two new songs for the film, while her artist collective Wondaland is overhauling The Siamese Cat Song from the original, due to its offensive depiction of Asian culture.
In the 1955 version, recorded by Peggy Lee, two Siamese cats, Si and Am, sing the lyrics: "We are Siamese if you please / We are Siamese if you don't please / Now we lookin' over our new domicile / If we like we stay for maybe quite a while."
Wondaland's Nate "Rocket" Wonder and Roman GianArthur are said to be working on the updated version, which will not feature Siamese cats. No further details were given.
But at the recent MUSEXPO Creative Summit in California, Kaylin Frank, a vice president in Creative Music and Soundtracks at Disney, explained that she and her colleagues were partnering with Monae and her team, and emphasised how the new tracks were a collaborative effort.
"We're dealing with Wondaland, (Monae's) team of incredibly creative writers and producers that she works with. So, our director has engaged with her in terms of what the storytelling (of) the song needs to be," she shared.
The live-action Lady and the Tramp, also starring Kiersey Clemons, Thomas Mann, and Yvette Nicole Brown, is scheduled for release on Disney's new streaming service on 12 November 2019.