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Film / Let It Shine

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Let It Shine is a 2012 Disney Channel musical. Based on the classic play Cyrano de Bergerac, it's notable in that all the main characters are black.

The film stars a young busboy named Cyrus who dreams of being a hip-hop rapper, but the words of his peers and his pastor father make it seem as though he would never succeed. Under the name "Truth", he enters a contest sponsored by the same music label that once hired a childhood friend of his (named "Roxie" Andrews). However, due to a mistake when looking at the photograph Cyrus sent in, it is his best friend Kris that ends up with the glory. At first, Cyrus accepts staying in the background and helping Kris try to win Roxie's heart, but he eventually gains some self-respect, learns to stand up for himself, convinces his father that hip-hop can be a positive thing, and succeeds at his dream.

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This film features the following tropes:

  • Battle Rapping: The final scene has Cyrus rapping against Lord of Da Bling, the former prevailing in the process after revealing the latter's secret as a taxi driver.
  • Extreme Doormat: Cyrus is too much of a Nice Guy for his own good. He actually lets Kris claim his contest entry as his own just so that Kris can have a chance with Roxie, even though he has a crush on her himself.
  • Friendlessness Insult: During the rap battle between Cyrus and Bling, one of Bling's taunts to Cyrus is that he has zero Facebook friends, before launching into how much of a loser he is.
  • Girl Next Door Turned Superstar: Cyrus has a huge crush on a popstar named Roxie, and has since they went to the same elementary school together.
  • Insecure Protagonist, Arrogant Antagonist: Cyrus, the protagonist of the film, is so plagued by self-doubt and shyness that he lets his friend steal his rightful spotlight and alias. Meanwhile, the rapping champion, Bling, is incredibly arrogant and boastful, bragging about his wealth and talent while treating everyone else like dirt. In their Rap Battle, Bling spends his verses trying to tear down Cyrus's self-esteem but gets defeated when Cyrus exposes his secret to the audience, making it impossible for him to continue being arrogant once everyone knew he wasn't actually rich.
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  • Mistaken Identity: Roxie comes to believe that Kris is Truth when it's actually Cyrus.
  • Money Slap: During the rap battle between Cyrus and Bling, Bling ends one particularly insulting verse by throwing a stack of cash at Cyrus to hammer in the point that Cyrus isn't as cool or rich as he is, telling him to "buy a better outfit" with it. This tactic backfires, because Cyrus turns the table on him by revealing that Bling isn't rich, but is instead just a low-class cab driver. He offers the thrown money back "as a tip" if he drives them back home.
  • Monochrome Casting: About 85% of the cast is Black.
  • Preacher's Kid: Cyrus, which is part of the reason why his dream seems almost unreachable- his father is so religious and opposed to rap music that Cyrus has to sneak out just to work at the club.
  • Rap is Crap: Cyrus's father believes that hip-hop is corrupting the youth, forcing Cyrus to hide his own interest and talent at rap. When Roxie revisits the town and church, she's shamed in front of everyone else. He eventually relents after hearing more of their music.
  • Shout-Out: A deleted scene from the extended edition (advertised in trailers on Disney Channel) shows Cyrus facing off against Bling in a rap battle and utterly schooling him, which is capped off by Cyrus saying "That's ten better disses than you, I beat myself, something you couldn't do." This is no doubt a modern take on the famous scene in Cyrano de Bergerac where Cyrano berates a passer-by for failing to insult him in a creative enough fashion.
  • Shrinking Violet: Cyrus at the beginning of the movie. He's even in the background compared to Kris in the picture of the two of them that he mails to Roxie. No wonder she thought Kris was the contestant.
  • Token White: Lyla is the only White major character.

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