The First Black Princess

15 years ago the Disney classic Aladdin made history by introducing the world to princess Jasmine, the first leading lady of color in a Disney film. Jasmine joined the ranks of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and the fish-lady Ariel as the heroines of the Disney princess dynasty. Since 1992, Pocahontas and Mulan have joined Jasmine as pioneers in diversifying the Disney universe. Soon, we can expect another big step: a sister named “Maddy” will break new ground as the first Black princess in Disney history in a movie called, The Frog Princess. Some would call this an inevitability; some would call it affirmative action. I call it marketing. Disney has been under all types of pressure for instituting sweat shops in 3rd world countries, underpaying their employees and perpetuating poor representations of people of color in their films, (including The Lion King). The Frog Princess seems to be a calculated diplomatic step in a progressive direction. The film is set in the French quarter of New Orleans and will be hand-drawn in classic Disney fashion for a 2009 release. Read more about the film here.
So this begs the question: With films like Catch a Fire, Daddy’s Little Girls, Pride and Pursuit of Happyness in the mainstream; with increasing positive/diverse representations of people of color on television and elsewhere in the media; and now Disney jumping on the bandwagon with The Frog Princess.. Is this a fad? Or are we finally moving towards an era of fair representation of people of color in the media?

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Published on March 11, 2007 at 2:58 pm. 11 Comments.
Filed under black image,entertainment,film,mainstream culture.