Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella

During ‘Cinderella: The Reunion, A Special Edition of 20/20,’ Brandy reflects on being the first Black Cinderella.

In honour of the 25th anniversary of “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” members of the film’s star-studded cast reunited to discuss the film’s legacy.

With its groundbreaking casting, the Emmy-winning Disney film famously revolutionised the classic tale: Brandy starred in the titular role, becoming the first Black actress to play Cinderella on screen, and the late Whitney Houston played the Fairy Godmother.

MORE: ‘Cinderella’ producer discusses Brandy’s reaction to a phone call from idol and on-screen fairy godmother Whitney Houston.
Brandy spoke about the significance of taking on that monumental role and what it meant to her in ABC News Studios’ “Cinderella: The Reunion, A Special Edition of 20/20,” which airs Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC during Disney’s World Princess Week.

“When I was younger, I wanted to be a singer, have my own band, and meet Whitney Houston. That was all “She stated. “I had no idea that my destiny would lead me to a role like Cinderella, or that I would be the first woman of colour to play her. And then to have Whitney Houston as my Fairy Godmother… you’ve got to be kidding me.”

Debra Martin Chase, the film’s executive producer, described casting as “one of the most difficult things” she’s ever done in the special. She stated that they decided to do “not colorblind casting, but diverse casting.”

Chase stated that Houston “loved Cinderella” and understood the significance of the film.

“It was one of the things she was most proud of in her career,” Chase said of Houston’s admiration for the film. “She completely understood the value and importance, the significance of having a Black Cinderella.”

Brandy stated that she “felt like a princess” in the lead role.

“I knew that this was so great for the world to see, especially Black people.” she said. “She represented a beautiful culture, which I really appreciated because that was so much a part of what I wanted to bring to Cinderella.”

She stated that “Cinderella” has inspired many people over the years.

“That movie changed the way Black little girls thought about themselves,” she said. “I still hear, ‘I believe I can be a princess now because of you,'” she says.

Other cast members of “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” including Whoopi Goldberg, Paolo Montalban, Victor Garber, Bernadette Peters, Jason Alexander, and Veanne Cox, spoke about the film’s impact during the special.

Following the special, The Wonderful World of Disney will air a presentation of the original film, which is available to stream on Disney+, at 9 p.m. ET.