On Friday, February 1, 2013, A.N.T. Farm will celebrate African American History Month in the new episode titled “influANTces.”
Chyna and the ANTs are tasked with creating a special project. As Chyna struggles to write a song for her presentation, she decides to lock herself in a recording booth until she comes up with a great song. After accidentally falling asleep, Chyna takes a dream journey back in time where she becomes famous African American music icons from the past: Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, and Janet Jackson. Using her dream as inspiration, Chyna writes a new version of the A.N.T. Farm theme song with lyrics that pay tribute to the great women who came before her.
We talked to China Anne McClain, the actress who plays Chyna, about her life and what African American History Month means to her.
Q: Can you tell us about “influANTces?”
China: The A.N.T. Farm episode “influANTces” is about my character, Chyna Parks, struggling with a Black History Month assignment for school. She wants to write a song about all of the amazing African American female singers for her project, but can’t seem to fit it all into a two-minute song! She then goes on a journey that takes her throughout the lives of Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, and Janet Jackson – showing her just how big of an impact they made on her life and others!
Q:Which African American woman in history inspires you the most?
China: First Lady Michelle Obama inspires me the most. She is so classy and never passes up an opportunity to help people. She is also very humble and is nice to everyone! She is an amazing person all around and I want to be like her when I grow up.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to recognize African American History Month?
China: It is very important to recognize African American History Month because African Americans have been through so much. We deserve recognition for the amazing accomplishments that we’ve achieved. You would probably be surprised at all of the incredible contributions African Americans have made to America throughout its history, like Garrett Morgan inventing the gas mask and George Washington Carver inventing peanut butter!
Q: Can you describe each of your costars (Sierra, Jake, and Stefanie) in three words or less?
China: Sierra is crazy and social. Jake is artistic, free-spirited, and fun. Stefanie is stylish and loves skirts! Haha – we are all friends in real life.
Q: What are you working on now in addition to A.N.T. Farm?
China: The biggest thing that I’m working on now other than A.N.T. Farm is an album with my sisters Sierra and Lauryn! We have been recording it for a while, so we are all excited for it to come out this year! Other than that, Grown Ups 2 comes out this year! I am so excited because I actually sing in this movie! It was such a great opportunity and I had so much fun seeing everyone from the first Grown Ups (rated PG-13) again.
Q: What is your all-time favorite book?
China: I am in love with The Hunger Games and The Lying Game books (both for ages 12 and up). Both series are so brilliantly written! I heard very positive things about both books from some of my friends, so when I visited the book store one day, I picked them both up. I definitely recommend them to teens!
Q: What literary character would you like to portray in a movie?
China: It would have been fun to play Rue from The Hunger Games! She is such a cool and cute character and I loved her in the movie. Amandla Stenberg did an amazing job!
Aww. Poor Rue. Leave a Comment with your A.N.T. love!
— Sonja, STACKS Staffer
Photos courtesy of Disney Channel