From the Disney Parks Blog and written by: Nichole Hamilton
February marks Black History Month, a time for all of us to celebrate the voices, stories and contributions of Black and African Americans. We will recognize #BlackHistoryMonth by bringing you stories about our talented cast members and the important work they’re doing as we strive to create more diverse and inclusive experiences and products across the world. All the while, we’ll celebrate inclusivity among our cast and guests as we host a series of special events and activations.
Today, it’s with great pleasure that we introduce you to one of our trailblazing cast members, Demarcus Johnson, Assistant Manager, Public Affairs for Disney Consumer Products, Games and Publishing. In this role, Demarcus works to help ensure thoughtful launches and authentic storytelling across a wide variety of merchandise including toys, clothing, books, console games and more.
For as long as he can remember, Demarcus has been a student of Black history. His grandmother and mother owned a school for young children in Arkansas, where Black history was a pillar of curriculum, and where he first learned the importance of Black heritage through education and stories. That experience helped shape his desire to learn more about Black history, whether it was in school or outside it and he tapped into this curiosity by delving into books, music and other literature about the Black diaspora.
Demarcus went on to become chapter president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. as an undergraduate of the University of North Texas and later take on a role as the Communications Chair for the National Black MBA Association Washington DC Chapter. During his time at Disney, he has worked on various projects related to Black and other marginalized communities, including working with cultural consultants on merchandise programs for Walt Disney Studios’ 2019 film The Lion King, where he learned more about the African diaspora.
He currently sits on the executive board for Wakanda@Disney, an employee resource group that champions business opportunities as well as professional opportunities for Black talent. As part of this team, he helps build a foster of community and advance the careers of Black cast members, while also guiding and influencing the products, games and publishing businesses to help understand the needs of Black families and fans.
Demarcus’ dedication to elevating and showcasing Black voices served as a catalyst to the pivotal role he played in helping bring Disney and Pixar’s hit movie “Soul” to life via a new collection of apparel and accessories.
He brought in multicultural powerhouse HUE Unlimited and together they identified four emerging Black artists from its community incubator designed for creatives by Black creatives, TONL, and worked with the teams at Disney and Pixar to lead their creative direction in crafting original inspired-by artwork. The collection features artwork designed by Bee Harris, Bianca Pastel, Arrington Porter and Cory Van Lew, who each took to the canvas to capture the soul of the film and its heartfelt story of music, family, friendship and self-discovery through their own unique lens, life story and experience as diverse creatives.
“In all things, my purpose is people. Recognizing the rich history of my heritage, it’s a privilege not just to add to that legacy through cultural works like the Made with Soul collection, but to reflect the beauty of our culture, to us and others, on the world stage.”
Watch Demarcus share his experience at Disney and how he helped bring the “Made with Soul” collection to life:
If Demarcus’ story has inspired you, stay tuned as we continue to bring you more cast member stories throughout February. Also debuting during Black History Month, there’s also plenty to #CelebrateSoulfully at Walt Disney World Resort as we celebrate Black culture through music, art, food and more. Follow along on our Disney Parks, Experiences and Products social handles; Instagram: @DisneyParksBlog, Twitter: @DisneyParks, and Facebook: @DisneyParksBlog.
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