Blog, commentary, Education, Television / Film

Disney's 1st African American Princess and her… Prince?


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Credit: http://disney.go.com

Disney is planning to release “The Princess and the Frog” later this year. Until this point none of Disney’s Princesses have been African American (A native Indian princess was featured in Pocahontas and Jasmine from Aladdin had an Arabic background).  The animated film will feature Disney’s first African American Princess, right on the tail of the inauguration of the USA’s first African-American President Barack Obama.  The plot thickens as the movie plans to showcase an interracial relationship between the African American Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen who is white.  Some are unhappy at the “half” effort on Disney’s part by not having an African American Prince.

The princess’s original name was Maddy, which brought back a stereotypical visual to me of Hattie Mc Daniel’s role as “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind.  And, even though she won an Oscar for her performance, we have come a LONG way since then; or have we?  Disney’s story line has Princess Tirana living in New Orleans as a maid for a wealthy white boss.  They could have asked me and on behalf of Herds of Concepts-my company, I would have suggested that Tiana have a modern job as a best selling author, a manager of marketing or a lawyer that works pro bono!  To add more fuel to the fire, there are also reports that the evil voodoo villain is voiced by a black actor and is animated black.

Based upon the information I have, the setting and script for the film appear to feed the retro-stereotypical ignorance of the African culture of voodoo and the lives of slaves amongst other hidden messages.

Disney’s response to the “boogieman” character was similar to the one they made regarding the creation of the black princess role.  They stated that it was part of a policy to offer characters that are diverse.

You can view an excerpt from the film and read more about it at the link below.
http://tinyurl.com/cu8ehg

 

Simone-Monet Wahls

Photo Credit: http://disney.go.com

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5 Comments

  • I’m hoping its another message that the Disney Story will portray. An “I’m really feeling your wonderfully feminine style and if nobody else is looking after… I will help and support you. And when all your troubles go away WE will live happily ever after?” Story. Let me find out that Disney is trying to send a message that white men/man find African American women attractive and lovable enough to try and make a lasting relationship with.

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  • I think its wonderful that they decided to finally add an African American princess to the collection of Disney princesses. But I wonder why they waited so long to do so. Perhaps its the influence of President Obama being our new leader. I think some people might take offense to it. Seeing as how long Disney has been creating movies about princesses. I think it’s wonderful that they finally decided to create a new Disney princess; African American princess at that. I hope the movie portrays the “average” African American woman. Not the sugarcoated version. Even though young children won’t understand. I think children deserve to learn some history as they’re young.

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  • I am excited to see the progress being done with this movie. Although the prince is caucasian, it is a start making the princess an African American. I do think this movie will raise some issues about interacial relationships. The villain doing voodoo is an illterate stereotype. I am not bothered by the fact that the princess is a maid, after all cinderella was. However, disney could and should put a twist on this story line. Instead of being a maid, Princess could have been an independent and hardworking women, who suddenly loses everything she has had. Like the economy today. But that is just what I think. Are there hidden messeges in this movie? Well, maybe, but I guess we will just have to see.

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  • I think it’s very interesting that Disney going to have an African American princess. I do believe there is a little stereotype thing going on. But at the same time I dont think they made her a maid for a wealthy white boss on purpose because she’s African American. In most movies prince,princess,queens,kings, etc. start off poor working at low paying jobs. This movie is going to be kind of similair to the film Cinderella starring Brandy. Afterall her prince was white and not African American. Overall im looking forward on seeing the movie.

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  • Well think that it is very exciting. That they are going to add a other princess to the collection that African American. I always thought there should be a African American princess. I just wonder why it took them so long. Well I think its has a lot to do with President Barack Obama. He really is making a change in this world.

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