Have you watched Vivo on Netflix? The latest film from Sony Pictures Animation is a vibrant, sweet, and at times sad (why do cartoons always gotta do that to me?!) tale of a little kinkajou on a journey to deliver an important song from Havana to Miami. Plus, it features an incredible, upbeat score, penned by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Brief pause… Lin-Manuel Miranda is an American treasure! His poetry and sense of rhythm are incomparable. His humanitarian efforts have helped people all over the world feel safe and seen. He is sadly one “O” short of an EGOT and has won a Pulitzer. Hamilton. Moana. In The Heights. He is a genius! If you don’t know his work, crawl out from under that rock and listen.
But, I digress… this post is not about Lin-Manuel, or a review of Vivo’s journey. THIS is about the character that will forever be planted in my heart… Gabi!
Gabi is an absolute joy from the minute she appears on screen. She has electric purple hair, blue plastic glasses, and wears whatever the heck she wants. She is noisy and silly and doesn’t care if anyone is watching. She plays the recorder badly, rides a bike like a maniac, and her bedroom looks like a tornado recently blew through. She is awkward, and kind of a loner, and she is PROUD of it. I. Love. Gabi!
Throughout the film, Gabi’s mother works really hard to help her fit in. She is genuinely concerned that Gabi is alone. She pushes her to make friends with the “normal” girls and obey the rules. I know it is all coming from a place of love… but Gabi LIKES that she’s different. She’s PROUD of it.
One listen to Gabi’s anthem, My Own Drum, and you absolutely get who she is. This song is my JAM! I immediately put it on my workout playlist for those empowered beats. Listening to it, my husband and I thought it had a very Missy Elliott vibe… and then we found the remix! (She’s totally there… complete with purring sounds.)
I wish I had been more like Gabi when I was young. You know… fearless and totally cool with bouncing to the beat of my own drum? I wish I had been told more often that weird is cool. How freeing it must be to know who you are and live your truth out loud!
Gabi is a lesson for me to do better and BE better. I want to speak love and freedom to the young people in my life. I need to let them know that awkward is beautiful. I need to remind MYSELF that it’s ok to be loud and different and proud. I will definitely be strutting down the street with her song playing on repeat in my head. Bounce, girl! Bounce!