Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Princess and the Frog---positive or negative?

I have to admit it; I am psyched about The Princess and the Frog - the first Disney movie with a Black Princess. I didn't think I would be this excited about it, and I do have my hesitations, but considering that I have a DVD of every other Disney 'Princess' movie, why shouldn't I look forward to the first Black Princess?

The Trailer

The hesitation?


1. Tiana spends most of the movie as a FROG. The first Black Princess, and she's not even on-screen as a Black young woman for most of the picture.
2. The Prince is NOT Black. Would it have been too much for the Black Princess to have a BLACK PRINCE?

I bought the ' Jump at the Sun' series of children's books because the heroes and heroines are Black.

I must say though, the Disney marketing machine is behind this completely. I smiled when I saw the display of merchandise in Target. Why shouldn't little Black girls be able to drive their parents crazy with pleas for the latest of the Disney marketing machine. Peanut can't form sentences yet, but has the Tiana Calendar [which she wouldn't let go from her clutches at Borders], both Tiana dolls, The Princess and the Frog Little Golden Book, and the soundtrack is on its way. I have to admit that if the movie goes the way of the book, I do like the storyline - Tiana has a goal for herself. She has a dream for herself, and is willing to work hard to achieve it - for herself, by herself. She's not waiting for the Prince to rescue her and give her a life, and I can't see anything but a positive about that.

Voiced by Tony Award Winner, Anika Noni Rose talks with Essence about her historic role:

Her Royal Highness: Anika Noni Rose
Monday, November 30, 2009 | 6:45 AM
by Regina R. Robertson

For decades, our images were rarely featured in mainstream fairytales, but a new day has come. This holiday season, Anika Noni Rose makes history when she's crowned as Disney's first, Black Princess--Tiana--in 'The Princess and the Frog.' With credits spanning stage ('Caroline, or Change'), film ('Dreamgirls') and television ('The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency'), the 37-year-old Tony Award-winner is intent on keeping her good fortune rolling. caught up with Rose to chat about landing her dream job, seeing herself in animation and how she hopes to switch things up for her next, big role. What was your initial thought when you heard there was going to be a Black animated princess?
ANIKA NONI ROSE: Oh my God, I was thrilled. [Working with] Disney has been my dream, so I just focused on getting the part and when I did, I called home screaming! [laughs] There's no reason why a girl from Connecticut would end up being the first Black Disney princess. Well, there's no reason why not, either! Weren't Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Tyra Banks being considered, too?
ROSE: I read that they were, but I don't know any details. Ultimately, that didn't matter to me because I was competing against me. As an actor, if you spend so much time thinking about how many other people are coming into a room, you'll psyche yourself out before you even get there. How did you feel when you saw Tiana on the big screen for the first time?
ROSE: When I saw Tiana, with my expression on her face, in color, standing in the moonlight, surrounded by sparkles--I was truly undone! I've been crying for a year-- seriously. What does it mean to you to be making history?
ROSE: The largesse of it all didn't hit me [in the beginning], but when they unveiled the doll to me, I remember thinking, "There's a doll, based on me and the work I've done, that's going to be here for these little girls--and she's glamorous." This movie is showing the world a different picture of Black America, which is phenomenal. It's just phenomenal. What were your feelings about the initial criticism surrounding the film, specifically relating to the prince not being Black and the firefly being a bit...ethnic?
ROSE: I was surprised by some of the things that the community took issue with, especially considering the amount of negativity that's in the world about us, on TV and film. But I think it's really about us not ever having this happen before and wanting to have some control over our image, because we so rarely do. There's a lot of humor in the film. There are also a lot of touching moments that I think are very genuine and it's all been done with such love, which you can see in the details. You can see it in Tiana's little, round nose and in how she moves...and that firefly's funny!

Read more here

In the end, I think this movie is about the little girls pictured in this clip.


The Angry Independent said...

"2. The Prince is NOT Black. Would it have been too much for the Black Princess to have a BLACK PRINCE?"

You know how I feel about this (at least I think you know).

I have no problem with the White Prince and the idea of a mixed pairing, esp. in a cartoon. In fact, I am all for it.

I think our society is still too hung up on race...esp. when it comes to interracial relationships. We just saw what happened in Louisiana... this social construct is slow to change (the idea that people should follow this unwritten cultural rule that says date only within your ethnic group).

And why not a White Prince? If anything, this may give Black girls a boost. They are constantly being knocked down...and bombarded with negative messages that they get through media, society, Pop music (esp. the Cancer that is Black hip hop/rap culture). With so many Black boys and men failing to meet their responsibilities and failing to meet certain standards, why should this be a problem?

And I am sure you are aware of the results of the survey that was done this year regarding race and dating. Apparently it found that Black women have the toughest time when it comes to dating opportunities/being accepted outside of their ethnic group. I also posted about this report (listen to the audio story from NPR). I pointed it out because it was evidence that supported some of my own experiences - Black men don't do much better on that front.

I say the interracial issue, esp. as it relates to this cartoon, is being overblown. In fact, it shouldn't be a problem at all. Old guard (outdated) thinkers in the so-called "Black community" love to stir this issue up to get Black folks worked up and anxious. And they do it as a way to point out that there is evidence that "the race" is under threat. It's a way for them to try to legitimize their outdated and outmoded view of the World and to show that they (the Civil Rights Authorities) are still very needed and important. But the reality is... the biggest threat to the so-called "Black Community" is Blacks who are a part of it. (Man I really hate the term "Black Community"...but I have to use it to make the point). The biggest threat is from within. Right now, "Black Culture"...(modern Black culture as it is today...not referring to Black heritage...there is a difference) killing the "Black Community".

BigmacInPittsburgh said...

I don't have any children,but I do see the need for the Black Princess.
I agree is it to much to also have a Black Prince! Yea I'm going to wait on that one.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you would have made that big a different for the prince to be black? Oh wait that's right two black leads=black movie.