Disney has come under scrutiny because of their trademark on the Swahili phrase “Hakuna Matata.” The Lion King quote roughly translates to “no worries” in East African.  

Of the complaints regarding Disney’s trademark, the main issue seems to involve the idea that Disney is commodifying part of the language.

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An activist by the name of Shelton Mpala has taken to Change.org to protest the trademark. The petition already has over 141,000 signatures.

“While we respect Disney as an entertainment institution responsible for creating many of our childhood memories, the decision to trademark ‘Hakuna Matata’ is predicated purely on greed and is an insult not only the spirit of the Swahili people but also, Africa as a whole,” the petition says.

“It sets a terrible precedence and sullies the very spirit of the term to begin with,” the page continues. “At a time when divisiveness has taken over the world, one would think re-releasing a movie that celebrates the unlikely friendships, acceptance, and unity, Disney would make a decision that goes completely against these values.”

However, while Disney has trademarked the phrase, that will not stop people from using it altogether.

Disney originally trademarked the phrase in 1994 to protect Lion King-related merchandise. With the saying’s ever-growing popularity, the animation studio did not want other companies to “cash-in” on its use. 

According to Deadline, Disney also cites that there are many other phrases that are trademarked such as “Vaya con Dios (Go with God)” and “Merry Christmas.”

The remake of The Lion King will hit theatres July 19, 2019. You can watch the record-breaking teaser trailer below.

What do you think about Disney’s “Hakuna Matata” trademark? Sound off in the comments below.

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