Reel Images | The Princess and the Frog

18 03 2009

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With the racial politics of America seemingly undergoing a complete upheaval, it would make sense that Disney’s attempt to feature their first Black movie princess would be met with resounding approval – that is until the public took a look at her love interest!

Starring Anika Noni Rose, Disney’s upcoming holiday film, “The Princess and the Frog,” will be the studio first attempt to feature a Black princess in the lead. Since “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” dropped 72 years ago, ALL of Disney’s princesses have been White. While the studio is willing to take the “controversial” step with it’s female lead, it appears that they are maintaining the status quo with her leading man, Prince Naveen.

For while Princess Tiana and many in the cartoon cast are black – the prince is not. Voiced by a Brazilian actor, his character’s features are definitely more Anglo than African causing many critics to complain that Disney has missed a huge opportunity for a fairytale ending for a black prince and princess. For many, the message is the studio’s continued push for diversity. But others think that the animated heavyweight lacked the courage to make an all-Black romance film.

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Disney has insisted its choice of a black princess was part of a policy to give characters as much diversity as possible. Over the past twenty years, Disney has integrated some color into their animated classics featuring a native Indian princess in “Pocahontas” and the Middle-Eastern flavor of Jasmine in “Aladdin.”

The 49th animated film from Disney has been awash in controversy since plans were announced in 2006. Originally titled “The Frog Princess,” its heroine was to be a chambermaid called Maddy working for a spoiled white debutante in 1920s New Orleans. But those plans were scrapped when the storyline sparked a backlash from critics who claimed it reinforced prejudice and demeaned black people. The princess’s original name was perceived by some to be a stereotypical ‘slave name’ and she was also a maid working for a wealthy white boss, which was criticized as being racially insensitive. Even the Bayou setting for the film was questioned as it had overtones of voodoo and slavery.

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Cyberfans and critics are not happy with Disney’s casting decision.

One disappointed fan wrote: “I think it’s sad that he is white because its saying that Black love isn’t good enough and that Black men could never be princes. Disney had the perfect chance to make its first Black prince, but instead it decided to go the controversial route.” Said another: “I am very disappointed and I wished Disney had made the prince Black, (and the ironic thing is the prince in the movie is White but the evil voodoo villain is voiced by a Black actor and is Black).”

Rose has insisted that people should look beyond the color of the character. “Not only is she the first black princess, she’s the first American princess. We’ve never had an American princess,” said Rose. “The scope and the significance is larger than people even realize,” she added.

The film also features the voice of media mogul Oprah Winfrey as Tiana’s mother, Eudora. “The Princess and the Frog” is scheduled for release in December.

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16 responses

18 03 2009
Reel Images - The Princess and the Frog

[...] View original here:  Reel Images – The Princess and the Frog [...]

19 03 2009
wonker

Interesting blog, I’ll try and spread the word.

19 03 2009
Tracy

I just assumed dude was kinda light skin. Are we sure he’s not Black? We’re a diverse people with lots of hues. However, I’d prefer a man with an afro, and why can’t the princess have some dreds?

19 03 2009
Apryl

Cool!

21 04 2009
Vivian

Can’t wait to see the movie. It’s about time and long over due. It don’t bother me if her love interest is not black, black men have been dating interracially for years, while sista’s stand in attention with their fist in the air saying, “Black Love.” LOL

23 05 2009
Disney’s First Black Princess « Dolls of Color

[...] Reel Images – The Princess and the Frog @ FilmGordon 18/03/09 [...]

16 06 2009
Desarea

love ur blog. Yes it is sad that disney doesnt see that there should be a black prince. I think there should be one at least to complete the melting pot lol. Im soo ready to see this movie.! The prince is soo funny. Now onto the rest of what I was going to say. I’m so glad they didn’t make her slaveish. I’m even shocked that they even used the word savage in pocohantas u kno?
I’m glad they are mixing the couple!! <3 great blogging

13 08 2009
DisneyExpert

Whoever wrote this article is VERY mistaken.

1. There HAVE been non-white Disney princesses as well as female Disney characters (non princesses) including Jasmine (Saudi Arabian), Mulan (Chinese), Lilo (Hawaiian), Esmeralda (Spanish), Pocahontas (Native), even Princess Kida from the movie Atlantis displayed African American features more than any other Disney Princess. If she was not deemed “Atlantian” you could swear she was African or Carribean.

2. PRINCE NAVEEN IS SUPPOSED TO BE CREOLE. That is why he is so light with curly hair. They are in the jazz age of new orleans. So yes, he is black. The reason that he is voiced by the Brazilian actor is probably to give him that “conceited lover boy” sound to him.

3. Why does it even matter? Like Rose said, this is not only the first black princess, but the first AMERICAN princess, not to mention the return to Disney 2D animation! Let’s focus on THAT instead of the stupid “controversies”. People are going to try to stir up controversies about everything and I’m tired of it. This movie is going to be amazing regardless, people need to stop trying to turn a children’s movie into some big political debate.

24 09 2009
FINALLY, A Black Disney Princess! « she says all…

[...] According to this website’s pictures, the long-awaited film is still controversial, as the Prince of the film looks white (though it should be said that the guy whose voice is used is Brazilian). Though it would be wonderful to see a Black Prince and Princess fall in love, I still think it’s nice that they went for “diversity.” It’s a start, right? [...]

6 10 2009
Interesting

Ummmm, I have seen a white looking black person…
but i have never seen a black looking white person….. (like the princess-dark)
… look at the natives/middle easterns/africans/etc… that fall under the non-white races…including asians btw… skin color doesn’t say anything about what a person is or where the person is from……And besides i’m pretty sure disney didn’t do this to start a racial thing… I think they are just looking around the world and noticing that there are more then one group of people out there… I think they want to make everyone happy… (and buy more of their products lol)…

11 11 2009
mick jones

The world has gone racist crazy, people who take such an unhealthy interest in peoples color like this are just so racist its sickening. Clearly the world will never be truly unracist, it is actually going too far in the other direction in the case of religion but that is a seperate matter. I saw a school the other day and their logo on the sign was 4 children holding hands of all different colors, and the fact that they have to portray this is not diverse, it is racist on an unbeleivable level. Finally, the fact that they are not allowed to call it “The Frog Princess” because it is a slave name, oh my goodness, it would not have been a black person who disagreed with the name, it would have been another stupid idiot white person “trying to make sure they are not being racist” how demeaning to black people is that?? Wow, I pretty much hate people like that, and for the record, I am white and I have a black friend who laughs at all this tippy toeing around racism, he says people who take so much of an interest in it need to grow up and experience some REAL racism.

29 11 2009
jay jay

The prince actually looks mulatto, and I think princess Tiana is really beautiful.

11 12 2009
Dee

Well, she kisses him before she knows what he looks like (as he’s a frog), and I assume she falls in love with him while they’re both in frog form. So, to me, it isn’t racist at all. To me, it’s simply saying that love is love, regardless of looks or race, and I think that’s the message everyone is forgetting.

11 12 2009
Dee

Oh, my bad, it seems she does see him before his transformation into a frog. But regardless, the message of ‘skin color doesn’t matter’ is what I’m getting from the film.

He may be creole or white or mulatto or polkadot, that’s not important. It’s sad that people are focusing only on race.

13 12 2009
Vivian

I took my daughter and a friend to see this movie yesterday and we LOVED IT!!!!!!A LESSON TO BE LEARN TO BLACK WOMEN. LOVE COMES IN A MULTITUDE OF COLORS, LOVE DON’T HAVE TO LOOK LIKE YOU, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS, DON’T STOP DREAMING. I LIKE THE WAY PRINCESS TIANNA PROTRAYED BLACK WOMEN IN THIS MOVIE. However, I did notice after the movie went on the prince became lighter and lighter.

27 12 2009
Aude

It’s bad she is black and him white… Mulan is asian with an asian, Jasmin and Aladdin are both middle-east… Pocahontas is special in this time where english colonize america.

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