Last month Disney revealed it was developing an animated film called the “Frog Princess.” For the first time in history, the company is to debut a black princess as the main character.
On one hand, it seems this is a pseudo-social feat. But on the other hand, I can’t help wonder what took so long. Growing up, the closest thing I had to a black princess was Brandy in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.”
For years I’ve watched Disney films featuring white royalty and have never felt there has been an accurate representation of blacks. Not even in an animated film.
There was Snow White, Cinderella, Belle in “Beauty and the Beast,” Aurora in “Sleeping Beauty” and Ariel from “The Little Mermaid.” But the only ethnic Disney character portrayed as a princess was Jasmine from “Aladdin.” And she wasn’t even the main character.
Might I add that Mulan and Pocahontas were never considered royalty.
Even when Disney finally decided to have a movie in which the storyline was set in Africa and geared toward black audiences, all of the characters were animals.
Indeed, “The Lion King” was a great movie, but at seven years old, there wasn’t much excitement in my pretending to be Nala on the playground.
The Walt Disney Company was founded in 1923. Why did it take 84 years for executives to realize that a black Disney princess is relevant?
Yewande Addie for the Editorial Board.