The director of Bring It On, Peyton Reed, has spoken about the film’s tackling of cultural appropriation, and how it was received, on its 20th anniversary.
The cheerleading film, which was released on 25 August 2000, starred Kirsten Dunst as a rich, white LA cheerleader, Torrance, whose routines are stolen from a troupe of black, working-class cheerleaders led by Gabrielle Union’s Isis.
In the movie, Torrance’s team (the Toros) and Isis’s team (the Clovers) compete for the national title, with the Clovers coming out on top.
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“I think there are always gonna be people in the audience, as there are in our country, who aren’t comfortable that the white girls didn’t win,” Reed told Variety.
“That’s the sad truth of our country, and I think that was a fun thing to confront in the movie because absolutely, the Clovers deserve to win. They won by being the best and working hard.”
He added that, in the film, Torrance comes to realise “how complicit she is in this weird institutionalised racism that’s going on”.
Reed also commented on the perception of Isis. Union has previously said her character was interpreted by some as a villain or an “out-of-control, young black woman”.
“Gabrielle’s character, Isis, is a determined leader who is going to get to nationals and prove to everybody that they’re the rightful ones,” he said. “They have been fighting in obscurity to be the best, and they are the best, and now they’re going to prove it to the world.
“In no way is she a villain or even an antagonist. That’s a very weird read on the movie.”