Soul and An Effective Communicator

Before the Movie:

Understanding what it means to be a Effective Communicator, pause and reflect on how your communicate your faith, gospel values and who you yearn to be.

Reflect: Do you take the time to actively reflect on who you are and your place world? In reflecting do you intentionally communicate and share your talents, perspective and wisdom with others.

Whether in class, school or at home, it’s important to recognize that each person in our lives hold a unique personal story. When shared, these individual stories have the potential to shape communities that are formed in God’s likeness of hope, love, dignity and understanding. As such, it’s critical for young people to share their story, experiences, challenges, talents successes with the goal to become responsive citizens who value the uniqueness of others.

Soul explores the “spark” that makes living so special.

During the Movie:

As you watch the movie, it’s important to recognize that Soul is multifaceted in regards to narrative and meaning. Both a study of race and culture, Soul is equally an philosophical exploration of life and death.

Looking at the movie through a racial and cultural lens, Soul is unique within the Pixar canon as its the studio’s first film to feature a predominately Black character cast and lead. Although, this progressive step is slightly lessened in that the film’s director is not Black, the focus on Black community and culture is constructive and positive.

Specifically, looking at the character of Joe Gardner pause and reflect on his significance within a cultural context. As a Black character he is not the Disney villain as seen in the Princess and the Frog or the comedic sidekick, but rather an educated Black man who is gentle, kind and responsive to his students and who yearns to achieve his dreams. This is significant as Joe represents a whole person who exists within a strong, supportive and loving Black community that is vibrant and grounded in a sense of togetherness. Joe doesn’t live in a ghetto nor does he play in run down bars. Rather, he exists in a place where his Blackness is shared with others in a positive way.

Importantly, it’s Soul music that allows Joe to effectively communicate. Through performance he is able to share his sense of self. Although, he learns that life has many sparks, playing soul music enables him to express his past, present and future. Through playing music he is able to tell stories and share his own. Furthermore, recognizing that Soul music incorporates Gospel is significant as it derives from hymn and the word of God which speaks to being an Effective Communicator.

After the Movie:

Whether in class with students or at home with family, Soul provides an opportunity for us all to reflect on our personal story and the sparks in our life that make living so special and wondrous.

For more on Soul including classroom and at home activities, visit this Soul Parent Guide.

Be creative and have fun!