“What I don’t understand is why Tiana’s man–not one that she chased after, or even wanted for most of the movie–is such an issue. In the context of New Orleans, of the American melting pot, I think the relationship between Naveen and Tiana makes sense. Where else would she find a prince that would, in the end, give her the European style fancy dresses and traditional wedding that viewers, black and white, expect? It obviously couldn’t have been an African American man because there are no American princes. I certainly would have been upset if she had had an African prince who dressed her up in traditional clothing, denying Tiana the chance to dress up like all the other princesses (besides, of course, Pocahontas and Mulan, who both wore traditional clothing and were considerably less popular than the other Disney princesses). Maybe, then, the story should not have been set in America. But imagine the racist images the viewers would have seen if the movie had been set in Africa–the Dark Continent is still too “Other” to most Americans to allow animators to make a film without gross stereotypes. Plus, there has already been a popular Disney movie set in Africa, The Lion King.
I say all this to make the point that, in my opinion, Disney made the best Disney-princess-movie-featuring-a-black-princess they could. I recall all of the hoopla about Tiana working as a maid and being called Maddy a couple years ago when the movie was still in production. If they had put her with a black man, invariably someone would have complained that Disney thought black women were unattractive to other men, or that they didn’t support interracial marriages. No matter what they do, they’re racist. There’s no winning.
For my part, I agree with allhoney that black girls deserve a movie where the prince is hardworking and true and the princess doesn’t have to struggle for each little thing she gets. Maybe we’ll get that in The Princess and the Frog 2. Maybe a second film will allay some of the discontent and feelings of exclusion so many in the black community felt when examining the Princess and the Frog.
To answer your question, Brother, I would not have been pleased with a Maldonian princess. You’re right about that. I guess what I don’t understand is why all of the characters in the black princess’s movie have to be black. I still hold that Disney has no responsibility to provide role models for any particular group. I certainly would’ve been offended if Tiana had been some trash-talkin’, agrammatical hoochie, but that would’ve been the company’s choice and I would’ve boycotted the film and raised hell about the representation (just as you are with this issue).” – Bee
Thanks for the feedback Bee,
But I can see from your reply that you are not someone who makes caring about black people or the black community a priority in their life. You have made a variety of negative prejudiced assumptions about black people. Everyday in America black people get married and have weddings with the finest of European gowns. Why do you believe a black man would not be able to give a black woman a European styled wedding dress? This is nothing more than a glimpse at the contempt you hold for black men. You are more than ready to believe a black man simply couldn’t provide a wedding dress. It is an impossibility in your eye. But some guy from the fairy tale land of Maldonia can.
You said that all the viewers expect a black woman to have a European wedding dress. Why? In previous Disney films, the female didn’t require a fancy European wedding dress. It didn’t happen in Snow White, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, Pocahontas, or Mulan. Why is it required now? You stand more than ready to apply a different set of standards to this film that did not have to be made for the other films. That is disparity. And then again, why do you believe that somebody of African American descent could not provide the European wedding dress? Your rather racist assumption of the inherent inferiority of the black man is showing.
Your assumption that Africa is too unacceptable to most Americans to provide a setting for a Disney film is just another demonstration of your willingness to buy into the propaganda against people of African descent. The story Coming to America, featuring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall, clearly demonstrated how America is ready to accept a story of an African prince coming to America. That movie was, and is, a box office smash hit. All kinds of people accepted the story of Prince Akeem making his trek to Queens, New York to find his bride. The movie even had the fancy European wedding dress at the end with a wedding the envy of any princess. But the fact that you want to make all kinds of assumptions as to why this wouldn’t work for Disney shows your submission to racist stereotypes that black men simply cannot do what others can because they are black men. Africa is too strange to be a setting for a successful film even though it has already been done.
You also assumed that if Disney had a film where a black woman connects to a black man somebody would argue that Tiana was not attractive to other men. This is nothing more than another nonsensical assumption on your part. Nobody said that Princess Jasmine was not attractive to other men when she made her connection to Aladdin. Nobody said anything about Mulan not being attractive to other men when she doesn’t get her Maldonian prince. Why do you keep insisting on holding this film to a totally different set of standards that don’t appear to apply to other Disney films? And even if people did get upset about Tiana being mated to a black man, you said yourself that Disney isn’t responsible for meeting people’s expectations. Why do you want to make it appear Disney had to meet people’s unfair expectations now? You appear to pick and choose when to apply your arguments and it makes you look rather hypocritical.
You claim you don’t understand why all the characters in this film have to be black. Who said they had to? This appears to be another one of your attempts to derail the discussion. Please point to any suggestion made that says all the characters had to be black? No one here has made that contention so the statement is somewhat inappropriate.
However, I will say that if this film is intended for black people, then the two characters that are to be portrayed as love interests should have been black. Why does Disney feel the need to portray two loving white characters in their other films such as Cinderella, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, and such? Is it too much of a stretch to have two black people fall for each other? Or is two black people falling in love and living happily ever after a fantasy that not even Disney’s make believe magic can pull off?
You write that you would not have been happy with the film if the princess was from Maldonia. You write that if she was from Maldonia you would have raised issues with the film. But this goes to show your hypocritical nature because from the beginning you argue that Disney doesn’t have any responsibility to portray their stories in any fashion. If everything you said was true, if you believe what you have written, what would there be for you to argue about? According to you, Disney would have been racist no matter what they did. According to what you have written here, you would have no foundation to base any complaint on.
You will argue that people need to cut Disney some slack. But the idea of you not getting your role model is enough for you to threaten a boycott against the movie. I do believe that was my original statement. As long as you, a black female, get what you want from Disney it’s all rosy and nothing else really matters. It is this self centered type of thinking that really spells trouble for any future for the black community.