Walt Disney was born today in 1901, and as a gift to us, Disney released the full clip of “We Know the Way” from Moana. Originally, I was just going to edit my review by including this new video, and I will, but I think it deserves a post of its own.
Prior to watching the film, I was not aware that Polynesians were the first to navigate the seas. They were fearless explorers of the ocean. History is so whitewashed, to the point that indigenous people are erased from their own narratives. That’s why I love this song and scene as much as I do. It’s only a Disney film, but because Disney’s sphere of influence so far reaching, because of its ability to shape culture, “We Know the Way” is a big deal. What I learned in my history classes was that white Europeans explored, “discovered”, and colonized. It seemed as if they were the only ones. It’s a bit embarrassing to think that at my age I didn’t know about the first voyagers. But I’m glad I do now.
Bit of inspired filmmaking too, how Moana discovers this hidden legacy of her people through song and a flashback. This song is incredible because it blends two different languages. And now Opetaia Foa’i’s strong voice can be heard alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda’s in this clip.