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Monique Coleman And Corbin Bleu On The ‘Special’ And ‘Beautiful’ Diversity In Lifetime’s A Christmas Dance Reunion

Monique Coleman and Corbin Bleu smile while looking at a photo together in A Christmas Dance Reunion
(Image credit: Lifetime)

Okay, Wildcats, time to get your heads in the game because Monique Coleman and Corbin Bleu have reunited for a Christmas movie. No, they aren’t reprising their High School Musical roles, but they do play high school sweethearts who reunite as adults in Lifetime’s A Christmas Dance Reunion. They are the leads in this film, they are magic together, and they recently discussed what was so special about the diversity on the film.

For many Black actors, it hasn’t been the easiest road. Monique Coleman has discussed how her High School Musical character had a signature headband because the stylists didn’t know how to do her hair. Thankfully, Coleman shines as leading lady to Corbin Bleu’s leading man in Lifetime’s A Christmas Dance Reunion and the whole experience sounds like it was delightful and empowering. Here’s what Coleman said when I asked about the diversity at Lifetime’s press conference:

It's definitely shifted so much. The fact that we can even have this conversation and be open about it is I think definitely progress. Corbin and I both are very collaborative in the process. We don't take a backseat to what we're doing. We really want to be involved every step of the way. And so it's been really wonderful to watch the industry catch up and also personally to be able to make stronger and different choices about how I want to be presented and so forth. I feel like there's a lot more room. And not just diversity amongst -- like racial diversity, but also diversity within a race. I think oftentimes, I have been cast in roles that someone could perceive as a token role... something that is so special and beautiful about "A Christmas Dance Reunion" is that you just have this family. You've got these people and they just are different shades of Black and it's not just one note or one tone. And that is really very exciting to see what the possibilities are now that these other universes are opening up where we can see ourselves from here.

The love that the members of this cast have for one another is palpable on-screen. You can see that everyone cares about the story they’re telling, the people they’re portraying, and the communities they are representing. A Christmas Dance Reunion offers not only representation in the Black community but is inclusive of LGBTQIA+, differently-abled, and various age groups. 

One of the coolest things about having Black leads in A Christmas Dance Reunion is that the story has absolutely nothing to do with their race. The story is about reconnecting, finding lost love, and celebrating hope for the future. It’s so beautiful and uplifting and you can see how empowered the leads feel through the power in their dance routines. Corbin Bleu elaborates on this with the following:

What's so amazing and so important to me about this film is that all of that goes unsaid. To me, the stuff that I grew up watching, all of the MGM classic musicals and never really getting a chance to see representation of myself in that character. And most of the time growing up, if I was watching someone of color, then it was the token. And usually, the phrases that were coming out of that person's mouth or the kind of demeanor of a certain -- it always was a very specific category. Or they were there because the driving force of their storyline was because they're Black. It has to do with their struggle. It has to do with the fact that they're not represented. And we have romance stories, too. We have positivity without the struggle, as well. That struggle is always there, but we will only see that struggle and only see that representation if those are the only stories that we continue to tell. So that's why this really to me was such a beautiful, beautiful experience and really important. And I want to see more of it and Mo and I need to do more of that together.

Did you catch that last line? Mo and I need to do more of it together. You heard it here first! More projects with Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman are a possibility for the future. I want to see them writing, directing, and producing the next one. They are one of the most phenomenal creative pairs of our time.

A Christmas Dance Reunion premieres on Friday, December 3rd, at 8/7 Central only on Lifetime. Check out the rest of the It’s A Wonderful Lifetime lineup because this year’s holiday films are absolutely stunning. For those looking for more Christmas feels, we’ve created a 2021 Christmas movies and TV schedule.

Samantha LaBat

Obsessed with Hamilton and most things Disney. Gets too attached to TV show characters. Loves a good thriller, but will only tolerate so much blood.