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Disney’s First Black Princess Movie Ideas Leads To Race Issues

July 18, 2008

Final DrawingThe Frog Princess [She So Ghetto blog]Funny, there’s a good supply of information about us in the USA from the U.K.

Apparently Disney is finally coming out with an African-American animated princess film. For those who tried to keep buying the Princess Jasmine dolls because she was the darkest and most multi-cultural looking, there is hope.

But, as with most issues of race, the critics of Disney’s cartoon movies are rearing their heads about the topic of this cartoon film.

Would a Disney movie that involves a black female character embroiled in a good-vs-evil plot regarding voodoo and being a “slave” of sorts to a prissy white Disney character be inflammatory?

This topic is no exception to the continuing arguments over race and positive imagery of black women. According to www.telegraph.co.uk:

”]”]Princess Tiana, the heroine of The Princess and The Frog, will be voiced by Anika Noni Rose

Originally called The Frog Princess, its heroine was to be a chambermaid called Maddy working for a spoiled, white debutante in 1920s New Orleans.

But it sparked a backlash from critics who claimed it reinforced prejudice and demeaned black people.

As a result the title of the musical, which has yet to be released, was changed to The Princess and The Frog and the princess will now be called Tiana.

Among the concerns were the New Orleans setting, the portrayal of voodoo and the overtones of slavery.

One of the film’s staunchest critics was William Blackburn, a columnist for the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina.

“Disney should be ashamed of what it is trying to pass off as its first black princess,” he said.”Despite all its resources and experience, it has failed to create a black princess to rival its predecessors.

“For one, this princess’ story is set in New Orleans, the setting of one of the most devastating tragedies to beset a black community. And then they throw in the voodoo theme and an alligator sidekick. When you put New Orleans, alligators and voodoo together, there’s no beauty there.”

He added that Maddy sounded too similar to Mammy, a name synonymous with the segregated Deep South.

Rodney Hinds, features editor of The Voice newspaper, said: “We are talking about a big company who has had to go back to the drawing board. It’s disappointing… Some of the stereotyping of people from our community is still rigid in people’s minds. We have our own dreams and stories like everyone else, and we want them to be portrayed positively.”

Following the rewrite the heroine has been recast as Tiana who is destined to live happily ever after with a dashing character expected to be of Middle Eastern heritage. The race of the villain is also reported to have been revised.

A spokesman for Disney said: “The story takes place in the charming elegance and grandeur of New Orleans’ fabled French Quarter during the Jazz Age… Princess Tiana will be a heroine in the great tradition of Disney’s rich animated fairy tale legacy, and all other characters and aspects of the story will be treated with the greatest respect and sensitivity.”-

”]”] The original Princess Tiana (below) had to be rewritten and seems to have been redrawn.” Princess Tiana Disney”[She so Ghetto Blog] Princess Tiana Disney
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