If you’re looking for a feel-good story that’s ideal for Black History Month, Dee & Friends in Oz is the perfect series to watch. Produced by 9 Story Media Group, this preschool show chronicles the journey of Dorothy “Dee” Davis — a young girl writing a brand-new story of Oz, where every kid has the power to become a hero inside of themselves.
Making its global debut February 5 on Netflix, his new musical adventure features a cast that includes Tony Award-winners LaChanze and James Monroe Iglehart, along with several other talented vocal actors. Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Tarriona “Tank” Ball stars as the fun and fabulous villain, Miss Ruby, and also composed the score for Dee & Friends in Oz.
“Every time I wrote a song for the show, I would add a personality or give the song the voice that I heard in my head, so when I was given the opportunity to actually be a part of the cast I was overwhelmed and honored,” Ball tells ESSENCE. “I thought ‘how the heck am I going to do both and also play my own shows?’ It took a lot of vocal agility and I learned so much about myself. The decision was made for me the moment I wrote the first song because I was meant to be a part of this show in many special ways.”
Within the series, the music is as magical as the land itself. It features R&B, hip-hop, funk, gospel, country, rock and more. Regardless of the genre, the lyrics include affirmations that impart powerful messages about confidence, friendship, and community. For the New Orleans native, she wanted a “memory to be created that lives with children forever just like the songs we grew up listening to.” In addition to the songs being fun and catchy, having a positive message in each track was also paramount for Ball.
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Created by Emmy-winner Angela C. Santomero, and developed by Emmy-nominated writers Halcyon Person and Keion Jackson, with direction from Declan Doyle, Dee & Friends in Oz is inspired by L. Frank Baum’s classic tale. When asked why this century-old book still has a place in today’s society and culture, Tank spoke to some of the story’s timelessness, and it continues to inspire all walks of life.
“I think it’s the magic of it all and the journey of finding oneself,” Ball explains. “The use of the people becoming friends along the way is very symbolic in how we live, and people resonate with that.”
The show’s first official soundtrack, Dee’s Journey, will be released worldwide on all music streaming platforms February 9 with the lead single, “Proud to be Loud.” Pre-save the soundtrack ahead of its debut here.