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Moana' actress says all races can wear character's costume: 'It's done in the spirit of love

Auli'i Cravalho, the actress who voiced the title character in Disney's "Moana," said all races should be allowed to dress up as the characters in the movie. (Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)

Regardless of what Megyn Kelly might say, you still shouldn't wear blackface for Halloween. But "Moana" actress Auli'i Cravalho has provided another option that she thinks all races should be able to enjoy guilt-free, pushing back against an often overly-uptight culture of political correctness.

The star of the Disney animated film said fans of all races and ethnicities should feel free to dress up as the Polynesian characters from the movie, despite the fact that some have criticized white people for wearing Moana costumes for the past two years.

"I think it's absolutely appropriate," Cravalho told People. "It's done in the spirit of love and for Disney and for the little ones who just want to dress up as their favorite heroine, I'm all for it. Parents can dress up as Moana too."

What was the controversy?

In 2016, Disney came under fire for a costume for one of the movie's characters, Maui. Maui was voiced in the movie by Dwayne Johnson, who is of Samoan descent.

The costume was a full-body zip-up suit that gave the appearance of brown skin and tribal tattoos, along with a green leaf skirt. Some thought it was an example of "brownfacing."

"Our brown skin/ink is NOT a costume," one unhappy Twitter user reportedly tweeted about the costume.

Disney ended up pulling it out of stores.

“The team behind 'Moana' has taken great care to respect the cultures of the Pacific Islands that inspired the film, and we regret that the Maui costume has offended some,” Disney said in a statement at the time.

Some parents have even blogged about not allowing their children to dress up as "Moana" characters, as a way to teach them about cultural appropriation.

“Halloween is an opportunity to have a conversation with your child about race, power, and privilege,” mother Sachi Feris wrote in October 2017. “Most important, we hope that you will use Halloween as an opportunity to engage your child in an ongoing conversation about how they can use their voices as change-makers.”

Cravalho said people should focus on the message of the movie, not the color of the characters' skin.

"I would encourage anyone who wants to dress up as a wayfinder who journeys beyond her reef to figure out who she truly is, I totally support you. Go for it," Cravalho said.


(H/T USA Today)

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