The wait is finally over. After patiently waiting nearly a century to see it, Black people will finally enjoy the sight of a Black princess in a Walt Disney film, with the November 25 release of The Princess and the Frog:
“Move over Snow White. Make room for Disney’s first black princess.With America’s first African-American president in the White House, Disney is counting on an African-American princess to be a big hit in Hollywood.But even though The Princess and the Frog isn’t released until later this year, it is already stirring up controversy.For while Princess Tiana and many in the cartoon cast are black – the prince is not.
Which has led some critics to complain that Disney has ducked the opportunity for a fairytale ending for a black prince and princess.While some have hailed Disney’s decision as a reflection of melting pot America, others say the company is sending out a mixed message. Although the black princess’s love interest in the new animated musical is called Prince Naveen of Maldonia and is voiced by a Brazilian actor, he looks more white than black in photographs from the film that Disney have released. Since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, all of Disney’s princesses have predominantly been white. A native Indian princess was featured in Pocahontas and Jasmine in Aladdin had a Middle Eastern appearance.”
Analyst are unsure if this movie will play with a global audience, for as we found out earlier Black people don’t like their own hair and do everything they can to make it appear like a white persons locks, but the ebony Disney princess appears to be of perhaps 1/4 or 1/8 African ancestry. Thus, can she really be an authentically Black princess, when her features are oh so white?:
“The Frog Princess is the first animated film to be conceived since Disney’s 2006 acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios, the computer animation house that created such blockbusters as Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo and Cars. The use of a classic hand-drawn process may be an indication Disney intends to create two streams of animation — one computer based, one based on more classic techniques. Randy Newman, who created music for Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Cars, will write the score. John Musker and and Ron Clements, who co-directed The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Hercules, wrote the story and will direct the film, which is set in New Orleans. “The film’s New Orleans setting and strong princess character give the film lots of excitement and texture,” Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook said. The heroine, Maddy, becomes the first African American among the Disney princesses, who are collectively responsible for more than $3 billion in annual retail sales. Disney abandoned hand-drawn animation after 2004’s Home on the Range, one of a series of animated films that provided poor returns. The company bought Pixar, known for its computer-generated imagery, and gave Pixar’s John Lasseter creative control of animated features. Analysts said Disney may be retesting hand-drawn works with The Frog Princess with the idea of producing more films using the classic animation process that launched the original Disney studios.”
A hand-drawn cartoon coming out in an era of James Cameron’s Avatar and other computer animated movies, such as Pixar’s Toy Story 3, might be bit of a stretch, considering Disney’s last hand-drawn film – Home on the Range – made a whopping $50 million at the domestic box office (compared to Pixar’s Up, which made $292 million).
Black people might not like the answer to this question, but are they being used in an attempt to regenerate interest in Disney’s traditional money-making behemoth (hand-drawn animated films)?
After all, it will be primarily Black people in the audience of The Princess and the Frog, for this is who the movie is appealing to (interesting the setting for the film is everyone’s favorite chocolate city, New Orleans).
The movie has already generated interest in one strange area for Black people, as Halloween costumes of the nubian princess are flying off the shelves and being purchased by Black parents for their Black children, in the vain hope that they will want to play with Black dolls instead of white ones:
“Fifty years after psychologist Kenneth Clark conducted the doll test that was used to help make the case for desegregation in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, a 17-year-old filmmaker redid the social experiment and learned that not much has changed.
In the 1954 test, Clark showed children a black doll and a white doll and asked black children which doll they preferred. The majority chose the white. The findings were not surprising for the time. In the summer of 2005, Kiri Davis, a high-school teen, sat with 21 black kids in New York and found that 16 of them liked the white doll better.
“Can you show me the doll that you like best?” Davis asked a black girl in the film. The girl picked the white doll immediately. When asked to show the doll that “looks bad,” the girl chose the black doll. But when Davis asked the girl, “Can you give me the doll that looks like you?” the black girl first touched the white doll and then reluctantly pushed the black doll ahead.
The film has left audiences across the country stunned and has reignited a powerful debate over race.”It’s amazing that two generations after the ‘Black Is Beautiful’ mantra of the 1960s, some African Americans still believe that it’s not,” Monroe Anderson wrote in the blog MultiCultClassics.
“It’s amazing that four decades after James Brown’s chart-topper, ‘I’m Black and I’m Proud,’ so many African Americans aren’t. It’s amazing that in the same year hip-hop artist Kanye West told the world that ‘President Bush doesn’t care about black people,’ Davis was discovering that neither do shorties in Harlem.”
One blogger thinks that when black girls try to bleach their skin or black kids pick white dolls as a better-looking toy, it is merely a reflection of the societal stereotype. This stereotype is continually reinforced.”
SBPDL is going to lapse into a prediction: The Princess and the Frog will make roughly $125 million at the domestic box office, flop in Europe and be a relative hit in South America. Black people will flock to the film like single women did to Titanic and testosterone fueled guys did to 300.
However, the merchandise wing of Disney will profit nicely off the ethnocentrism that Black people rightly feel for this film, as they will buy their kids every conceivable piece of flair that promotes this movie:
“This Halloween, 4.5 million girls will dress up as a princess, according to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation. More than a few of them will be a Disney princess, a category that ranks seventh on this year’s list of top 10 costumes for kids.
Cinderella has been a perennial favorite, but this season, there’s another princess on the rise. Princess Tiana, Disney’s first new princess in 10 years, is also the brand’s first African-American princess. The movie, “The Princess and the Frog,” is a musical fairy tale in which Tiana, a girl from New Orleans, voiced by actress Anika Noni Rose, is mistaken for a princess by a frog prince who asks her to kiss him to break the spell. Though the film does not arrive in theaters until Dec. 11, Tiana Halloween costumes are already a hot property. And in an unusual twist, the character is resonating more with adults than with little girls. Deidra Willis, 31, went through great pains to track down a Tiana costume for her 2-year-old daughter, Daylin. At one store, the costume was already sold out. At a another, she saw no trace of Princess Tiana. A friend was finally able to locate a costume at yet another retailer, Willis said. Good thing, because Willis was just about ready to create her own version of the outfit based on images from the movie trailer. Disney Consumer Products representatives confirmed they have received calls from customers looking for the sold-out costumes. Sales, they said, have exceeded expectations, especially since the film has yet to be released. Willis typically doesn’t celebrate Halloween, but this year, Princess Tiana was a good enough reason to start. “I am very passionate about this particular Disney character,” Willis said. “It has been 100 years in the making. I’ve been very disturbed because I love the concept of a princess, but they don’t exist for the African-American community.” The excitement extends well beyond Halloween. Willis, like many parents of African-American girls, has taken a hard line on Disney products. She has avoided filling her daughter’s toy box with too many princess products that don’t reflect her image. The only other Disney-themed product she has purchased are Pull-Ups, but she has plans to scoop up more of the Tiana merchandise. “I’m looking for Tiana dolls. I want pajamas and slippers. When I go to get her toddler bed from Toys ‘R’ Us, I want a Tiana bed to be there,” Willis said. If interest in Tiana merchandise is to be expected, so much early interest is less the norm. Usually, it’s kids begging their moms to buy them princess this or that, but Tiana has moms all aflutter. Nicole Nobles’ 5-year-old daughter, Jaida, opted to be a cheerleader for Halloween this year (she had been a Disney princess for three years running, including Snow White and Cinderella), but Nobles can’t wait to buy a Tiana doll for her daughter this holiday season. “I refuse to put Sleeping Beauty on her bed,” said Nobles, of Jonesboro. “I heard about Tiana, and I said ‘Oh we are definitely going to get that one.’ ” A Princess Tiana cookbook for kids, Tiana Band-Aids, a calendar, apparel and plush toys are already available for purchase online and at mass retailers. A Princess Tiana-inspired wedding gown, part of the Kirstie Kelly for Disney Fairy Tale Weddings collection, will be available this spring. It is unusual to see so much merchandise hitting the market two months in advance of the film, said Suzanne Diamond, a marketing lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and president of Diamond Group Ltd. The early in-store arrival of Tiana products is in part an effort to get the merchandise on shelves for holiday shopping season. “You would normally time it for the merchandise to hit at the same time as the movie, maybe slightly before, so you can capitalize on all the excitement and extend the brand,” she said. “This is fascinating because this is really driven by the moms. This is very significant to the moms and it is word of mouth.” While the $4 billion Disney Princess brand is supported by a massive marketing strategy (which should begin in a few weeks for Tiana products), the buzz already generated by blogs and other less traditional forms of advertising helped Carol’s Daughter sell out of “A Magical Beauty Collection” gift sets in just seven hours online, said the company’s founder, Lisa Price. Price, who collaborated with Disney on the line of shampoo, conditioner, detangler and bubble bath, said she sees similarities between Tiana’s story and her own and that may be part of the appeal for women. “I feel like this story has a story that goes beyond the film. Tiana is someone who has the support of her family and her family encourages her to live out her dreams. … That is a beautiful lesson,” Price said.
Pre-Obama America is dead. Welcome to the coronation of a new princess for a new nation, conceived in the proposition that all colored people are equal, and all white people must bow down to this decree.
Cinderella, Snow White, Bell (Beauty and the Beast) and Sleeping Beauty are so 20th century, and will one day appear in a list of most racist Disney characters – like this one – as a symbol of white people attempting to instill the archetype of beauty upon the beleaguered colored masses of the world – even though Black people love white dolls.
Stuff Black People Don’t Like includes waiting nearly 100 year for a Black Disney princess, for every princess since Walt Disney conceived Mickey Mouse should have been Black, and it is an absolute joke that we had to wait until 2009 to be graced with the beauty of an obviously Octoroon princess.
When all is said and done, Black people will still probably scream that The Princess and the Frog is racist and demand another princess be drawn to raise self-esteem among young Black girls.
A trailer for the film can be viewed here.