Disney animated films essentially ignored the entire Black American experience for fifty years, or reduced them to tired stereotypes (jive-talking black crows in "Dumbo," the problematic depictions in "Song of the South,") and then came "Hercules," with five black gospel singing muses, memorably sung by an an ensemble that included Tony-winner Lilias White.
Disney did one better with Tiana, their first black princess in "The Princess and the Frog."
I know that "The Princess and the Frog" has its fans. But for my black friends, those gospel numbers in "Hercules" garner far more affection. Alan Menken's "Zero to Hero" is catchy, hummable, and exactly what you want from a Disney Renaissance-era production number.
Add that all up to the fact that Disney undeniably knew they'd found a star in Jelani Aladdin, who had no major credits before being cast in FROZEN. He's luminously talented, with a killer voice, a megawatt smile and a rockin bod, and yes, he's perfect for Hercules.
This is a Heather Headley level discovery, and I hope Disney carries him to mega-stardom as they did when they took her from THE LION KING and gave her a star vehicle in AIDA.