This one is gonna be long. And rant-filled.
You’ve been warned.
It’s been a few years since the movie came out and I initially thought it was a cute, okay film. But days and now even years later, there’s something about it that still bugs the hell out of me. So in order to get it out of my system, I give you why I think Disney should try again with the whole African American Disney Princess thing.
Also, I can’t be the only one who thinks this. And I know it’s a kid’s movie and I should lighten up. It’s a fine kid’s movie.
I just want an even better one that has a female black main character.
Let me explain…
Differences I noticed between Princess and the Frog and the other Princess Movies.
- The girl was a frog for most of the movie. She wasn’t an African American princess. She was green and amphibian for 80% (or more) of the movie. I know this is based off a book with that plot twist. And I wouldn’t really mind…if you know, this wasn’t the first (and probably only) Disney movie with a female African American main character.
- She was working class and appeared to have remained that way for years after her “happily ever after.” I know it’s more realistic and a better message. But when are Princess fairytales ever realistic? Sometimes, the little kid in us just want a good old fashion they got everything they ever wanted without having to work hard at it or anything. Beautiful husband, castle and everything a girl could ever want…without having to do a damn thing.
- The “real” princess in the story was white and rich. Tiana wasn’t the princess till the end of the movie. Her white, rich friend was first.
- The movie was set in 20th Century America in New Orleans. I don’t know why they did this. Every single other Disney Princess movie was set in a fantasy land in Europe (Snow White, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, etc) or some other country (Aladdin) or sure, even America, but not a specific place in America (Pocahontas). You know, “A Long time ago, in a faraway land…” Not, 1926, New Orleans, United States of America. It could have EASILY been set a long time ago, in a fictional town in fictional AFRICA. But…no. They didn’t do that. I’m African American and have never been to New Orleans and I haven’t been to Africa either, but I feel more connected to Africa than to New Orleans.
- The movie doesn’t show white people to be in good light either. There are like only two white characters and they’re rich and stupid.
They could have made it like all the other Disney Princess movies. This is the only Disney Princess movie that is this different, and I’m not talking about race. I’m talking about the story.
All Disney Princess movies have these things in common:
- They’re set a long time ago, in a land far away.
- The Princess is usually near perfect and just placed in a bad circumstance. Being born into working class does NOT work.
(What I mean is Tiana was a workaholic. The whole movie was her learning to change that. None of the other princesses had that type of flaw—meaning they didn’t have to change their personality or way of doing things…other than realizing the people they trusted were actually are jerks and those who they thought were jerks were actually the good guys.
For example, in Tangled, Rapunzel was cute, adorable and only had the bad case of insecurity brought on by her stepmother that she overcame on her own and didn’t need an entire cast of secondary characters to teach her otherwise.)
- In every Disney Princess movie, the Princess immediately entered Happily Ever After phase at the end. They found their prince and now they no longer would have to suffer.
(In Princess in the Frog, this doesn’t work because if she was given her business, right after she got with the prince, it wouldn’t work. So, she still had to work for her dream. And apparently the only difference is now she has a man to help her. Cause ya know. She couldn’t do it herself. Cause she’s poor and lonely *cough*andablackwomanin192o’samerica*cough*).
Again, this is just one way of seeing things. Honestly, I wouldn’t have a problem with it normally. It’s cute. It’s warm and fuzzy.
It’s fine… If it weren’t the first and probably only African American Disney Princess movie to be made.
I feel it would have been a lot better if…
For one, Tiana’s goal didn’t have anything to do with starting a goddamn business. Let it be something better. Ya know, like freedom…dignity…and love…
In fact, there’s a story out there that has those themes. It’s a Princess story. And it has a full African cast.
I’m talking about AIDA.
*hundreds upon hundreds of people shriek in horror at the idea of a Disney version of AIDA*
I know, I know. Hear me out.
Okay, sure. They’ll have to change the ending. They changed Hunchback of Notre Dame and that wasn’t so bad. And sure, they’ll have to add some songs and a talking animal mascot for comic relief. But if they stuck with the true essence of that story, it would still be good.
Or keep it the same. I have an AIDA picture book I read as a young seven year old learning how to read. The end wasn’t happy. I loved it anyways as a little kid.
But if not AIDA, then make it similar.
The Princess has REAL royal blood or at least some sort of princess/girly quality.
Make the entire cast black. Not a single white face. If it’s okay to have a movie without a single black face, then this should be okay too. Little kids wouldn’t care and parents shouldn’t care either!
Have it set in Africa, in a fictional town, a long time ago.
And finally, give it the Disney Trademark “Happily Ever After” ending with bells, whistles and raining flowers and ribbons.
Just because the main characters were African American, doesn’t mean it needed to have the special treatment. It doesn’t need to be set apart. Tangled fits PERFECTLY with the other Disney Princess Movies. Perfectly. And it came out AFTER Princess and the Frog. And I found it much more entertaining and hilarious. What’s the deal? Just because of their race it has to be different? It needs a different treatment? Why?
I feel like they were trying to be modern or feminist, but…no.
Just didn’t work for me.