brotherpeacemaker

It's about our community and our spirituality!

Now That Black Women Got Theirs Race Is Not Important

Dawn Turner Trice was on National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation with Neal Conan discussing Disney’s release of The Princess and the Frog. Ms. Trice was commenting on how excited she was to see Disney finally do a full length animated feature with an African American as the central character. According to the introduction of this particular Talk of the Nation episode, black women everywhere were ecstatic over the fact that the Disney Corporation has finally paid props to the black community and created a story tailored to our culture after all these years.

The story revolves around Tiana, a young black African American woman who works as a waitress and a chef. She dreams of independence and of owning her own restaurant like her father. In the official movie trailer the story is that Tiana kisses the frog prince Naveen and is turned into a frog herself. Naveen was a young handsome prince from Maldonia who was cursed by turning into a frog by Dr. Facilier. Together, the two frogs must journey through a swamp in order to change themselves back into their human forms.

I believe Ms. Trice went and saw an early release of the movie with her daughter. The two celebrated the fact that they finally had a Disney princess that they could relate to. After years of having nothing but Snow White, Cinderella, Pocahontas, Princess Ariel from the Little Mermaid, Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, and others, Ms. Trice and her daughter finally had a character that they can truly relate to. They were proud to see a black character that represents black culture.

However, not everyone is living happily ever after. There is a great deal of controversy over the fact that Disney produced this movie without giving Tiana a black romantic interest. Naveen is some kind of racial hybrid that defies description. Maldonia is some fairy tale land that is definitely no where near Africa. Naveen’s cultural history is as mysterious as the reason why he wasn’t simply black. There’s a great deal of consternation over the fact that this young black woman isn’t about to find her prince charming in the black community. Disney simply couldn’t bring itself to make a cartoon painting two black people in a happy relationship. Disney might be the land of unimaginable fantasy but it seems like the idea of two black people being happy is a fantasy that not even Disney can imagine.

However, that’s okay to Ms. Trice. Her opinion is that the fact that Naveen isn’t black is nothing that warrants attention. It appears that race is something that shouldn’t even come into play. Ms. Trice talks as if Naveen’s race is not important to the story. As far as she’s concerned, they could make the character of Naveen straight up black and the story wouldn’t change at all. Race is simply not that important to the story.

But this doesn’t jive. If Ms. Trice, and black women and girls the world over, are celebrating the fact that they finally have a black princess after years of doing without, how in the world could it be that the race of the prince isn’t important? Black woman are swooning with pride that they got full representation. And yet, these same black women couldn’t give a damn less if young black boys don’t have their role model on Disney’s silver screen. What gives?

Ms. Trice and other black women are actually saying that as long as they have their black role models hooking up with racially ambiguous men from who knows where, it’s all good. The fact that their love interest could be black has no meaning and therefore has no value. The idea of a future for the black community isn’t even important. Black women would rather have a future in the fictional land of Maldonia than with a brother from the black community. That’s a rather mind blowing concept.

Being a black man who holds the black community near and dear to my heart, I find this a sad state of affairs for the black community. So many black people have bought into the idea that the black community isn’t important. We can have young black female role models for our daughters and sisters hooking up with all the Naveen’s in the world and we don’t even give a damn where they come from as long as it’s not the black community. And would all these black women be saying that it’s all good if the first Disney cartoon aimed squarely at the black community showed a young black man getting jiggy with a young racially obscure princess from Chickonia?

I wonder if these black women would have the same enthusiasm for this movie if the roles were reversed and their young daughters who have been waiting for decades for their black Disney role model went to see a cartoon about a young black man kicking it up with some racially ambiguous woman from Maldonia. I wonder how these black women would feel if they were told that it isn’t important that their blackness get represented.

Wait a minute! Black women already know how it feels to not be represented. Black women everywhere are exhaling as you read this knowing that their long drought is over and they now have their Tiana. Now, they can afford to transcend issues of race. It’s no longer important now that they’ve got theirs. It seems to me that the future of the black community is already lost in the eyes of a lot of people. Maybe we can hope all of our children find their future in Maldonia.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Life, Racism, Thoughts | , ,

24 Comments »

  1. This lady is totally full of crap! She obviously has no care for black relationships. She is happy to see a black princess in a sea of white ones and says that it is about time because OBVIOUSLY race mattered then.

    But the minute the discussion turns to that of a racially ambiguous prince, oh peeshaw! Race doesn’t matter, why are you all ratcheted up. The problem we have here is one of selective reasoning.

    If it is important to have a black princess in a sea of white ones, shouldn’t it be just as important to have a black prince in a sea white ones? Of course not when you could care less about black men.

    From looking at a lot of her work, I am not surprised that she has this attitude. Great article. Thanks.

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Thursday, December 10, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback theblacksentinel,

    The other problem we have is the careful selection of black people to represent the black community’s interest. Ms. Trice has a very loose concept of what it means to be black, when it suits her and hers. Yes it is important that black girls have theirs, but race isn’t important now that she has hers and this is the thinking National Public Radio wants to promote as indicative of the black community’s interests. The interview with Ms. Trice was totally one sided about how this movie is a good thing for black people everywhere.

    Writing this comment, it dawns on me that some of the people at NPR are no different from CNN or FOX. The people who did the interview with Ms. Trice had an agenda to portray this piece of assimilation promotion as something good and wholesome for black girls and we shouldn’t care about the whole racial ambiguity about the prince from Maldonia. The people at NPR didn’t want to do anything balanced. Hopefully there are some black people who will wake up and realize how we’re being played and won’t wait for NPR to come knocking on their door to express their disgust.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, December 10, 2009 | Reply

  3. I was planning to take my 6 year old grandson this weekend. How wonderful it would have been for him to see a loving, beautiful relationship of a young handsome black prince as he vie for the attention of the beautiful Tiana.

    Watching their life in the swamp as frogs, ultimately as prince and princess would have been a fun and beautiful thing.

    Comment by swooth | Thursday, December 10, 2009 | Reply

  4. Thanks for the feedback swooth,

    But I have to confess I’d rather see Tiana and her prince relegated to a life as frogs rather than see her go off with some dude from Maldonia.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, December 10, 2009 | Reply

  5. Greetings Brotha!

    I’m a Black woman, and I’m disappointed that so many African-American women are falling for this self-destructive propaganda. It’s sad. 😦

    I recently did a commentary – Why I’m Boycotting The Princess and the Frog. I welcome you and your readers to check it out if you get a chance.

    Keep speaking the TRUTH.

    Peace & Blessings!

    Comment by Real Talk | Thursday, December 10, 2009 | Reply

  6. Real Talk,

    I listened to your commentary the other day and I agreed with you. I am boycotting it as well. But it probably doesn’t matter for me since I would NEVER go and give my money to that racist organization.

    Who just decided that it was time to show a black face now that they want to seriously pull in our dollars. Not to mention that decided that it was far too hard to find a black storyline befitting a black princess AND prince.

    Forget it, they won’t get me, ever. And as far as NPR is concerned I definitely need to drop them a line. They don’t have a problem trying to be balanced when asking me for a donation.

    So I will give them an earful of what Ms. Trice didn’t. I don’t need their propaganda telling me what is good for the black community. I should as a conscious black person KNOW for myself what is good for me and mine. And this tripe isn’t it.

    Thanks.

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Thursday, December 10, 2009 | Reply

  7. I agree with what you’ve said here. My husband and I discussed this at length.

    The thing is, though, that even as disappointing as this is, it is more disheartening for my daughters to see all these Black men with White women in real life. I may be playing devil’s advocate, but why is it so awful to see a Black woman with a White man in an animated movie but tolerable to see brothers with White women all over the place- life, movies, in books..?

    What are your thoughts?

    Comment by c | Thursday, December 10, 2009 | Reply

  8. Thanks for the feedback c,

    I wrote an article or two about the very subject you’re referring to some time ago. Please read my article titled White Woman Married To Black Man…

    But one thing I will note is that just because one happens doesn’t mean that the other is somehow more palatable now. We should address both topics with an open mind and not stoop to pitting one sector of the black community against the other simply because some chose to turn their back on their brothers and sisters.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, December 10, 2009 | Reply

  9. Mr. Walt Disney was a genius. His vision when he began was about what he saw in his head. He had to get it out and used this special creative ability to earn his keep. He didn’t compromise. The bulk of his work was about white folks and how they see the world because he was a white guy born at the turn of the century. That in and of itself brings a whole different set of goggles than most of us.
    But after Walt died, the machine could have changed with the times. It didn’t because the machine churned out a lot of money and supported a LOT of people who wanted to continue to have jobs. In that spirit we have “The Princess and the Frog”. A mish-mash of crap meant to give black girls who grew up longing to have a Disney Princess party wherein they would actually LOOK like a Disney princess and yet maximize profits. I don’t think this is about anything as subversive as Disney not wanting to promote that there is such a thing as functional black love. I think that they were hoping that black people would think the Maldonian was “black enough” and that white folks would think he was black enough to not teach their white kids that interacial love was acceptable and yet white enough that this isn’t seen as “the Black Disney movie”. Hey, if latinos think the Maldonian accent is a little familiar, they’ve covered all their bases, right? What they don’t seem to realize is that all this pandering makes for crap and is just as insulting as if they had set this movie in Harlem and had all the characters talk like the only way they learned to speak was through watching movies-70’s blaxploitation films.

    Comment by Carlton | Friday, December 11, 2009 | Reply

  10. I agree and I am sorry if it seemed that I was trying to put side against another. I was just wondering about your thoughts on it because when my husband and I talked about this, we couldn’t continue the conversation. We just kind of stopped- not in frustration with each other, but at the situation.

    I’m all for people loving whomever they love.

    I will check out that article. Thank you.

    Comment by c | Friday, December 11, 2009 | Reply

  11. I haven’t seen the movie or the trailers, but Naveen is a typical Indian (Asian) name, so I would supposed that the character should also be Indian. On the other hand, Moldonia sounds like Moldova or Mongolia — Eastern Europe or Asia, again, would be implied. But the forest and Tiana’s dress are pure Disney, I’d say.

    Comment by Bettina Hansel | Sunday, December 13, 2009 | Reply

  12. Bettina,

    You are right on the mark. The Disney guy interviewed about this prince have said that he wanted the prince to be exotic and picked looks from South America, Eastern Europe, India and Asia. He said he was from Colorado so all those looks were exotic to him. Yet, no inspiration from Africa nor black America. And that they purposefully made the prince racially ambiguous because they felt it fit in with the New Orleans theme. He said that since N.O. has such an assortment of races they should make him(prince) like the city.

    Still doesn’t work for me. I feel that it is fine to love who you love as I wouldn’t be me if my parents didn’t love who they loved. And trust me, my mother’s family was not happy with her choices. We(black folks) are all to some extent multiracial either by ancestral couplings or more recent couplings.

    My problem is that Disney is not giving the little black girls, nor the Native American for that matter, the choice to see a movie that enhances the fantasy of a prince of their heritage. Instead they enhance the fantasy that your prince is an other. They will have plenty of time to grow up and fall in love with whomever of whatever race. So why the need to tell the story of a black girl falling for a man with NO specific race at all.

    I just feel that it is more depictions of no black unity that is a constant on television and movies. We don’t need a white or non-race savior to take black and Native American women out of the mess that is considered our communities in the media. Our children deserve the same as the white, Middle Eastern and Asian children did. A coupling of like people. If they then want to branch out into these interracial couples, I am fine with that. Just why does the black princess have to be the first. She is the first of a lot of things. And it seems a bit insincere.

    Thanks.

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Monday, December 14, 2009 | Reply

  13. Okay Everybody,

    I just saw this movie and there’s a lot more wrong with it than the fact that Prince Nuveen isn’t African. Prince Nuveen is a lazy, no account, shiftless, singing dancing partying playboy and Tiana is right to not want to have anything to do with him. She, on the other hand, is a hard working Superwoman, almost always smiling and pulling two shifts everyday to follow her dream of opening the restaurant that her daddy was never able to afford to open. Her best friend (her only friend) is a spoiled white girl for whom Tiana’s mother makes clothing. Nuveen runs into Dr. Faciliar,the neighborhood Voodoo Man (complete with walking, talking Baluba Masks who embody his friends from “the Other Side” and gets turned into a frog and our Young Superwoman Mammy Tiana must take him in hand, show him the value of hard work, and save shiftless and lazy with the Love of a Strong Black Woman. Oh, and she sings and dances too. Poor Tiana is NOT a Princess. We meet her everyday in all walks of life. She’s beautiful, intelligent, hard-working, and a loving and dutiful daughter. She’s worked and saved every penny, denied herself a life, and done all that she could to keep her father’s dream alive. But she gave it all up to be a frog and marry a frog, and only by giving up what she wanted (her dream) to embrace what she ‘needed’ (being married to a frog with no skills who was disowned by his parents for being lazy and shiftless-a frog, mind you, who turned her into a frog when she kissed him under false pretenses) was she able to break the spell and turn both of them back into people. She became a princess by lowering her standards and giving up her dream.

    And the only real black man couldn’t fulfill a dream that his 18 year old daughter could??? And she was using his recipes too? Please!!!

    This movie has so many negative images that I can’t even put them all in one post. Don’t go see it. And if you go, don’t say that I didn’t tell you.

    Comment by allhoney | Wednesday, December 30, 2009 | Reply

  14. I feel like all of you have missed the point. As a young black woman, I waited my whole childhood for this movie and I was thrilled to finally see it come out. Tiana is a perfect princess. And–despite what allhoney said–she is a princess by the end of the movie. Princess is not a negative term. Seeing this strong woman finally get everything she wanted and worked for, I felt empowered and pleased that she was the princess created in the image of my people.
    Naveen is not African American. His heritage is supposed to be Maldonian–a fictional Mediterranean country whose name is a combination of Malta and Macedonia. He is not white. In the movie, he is a little darker than some of the concept art showed him, but he’s definitely not as dark as Tiana. However, he clearly has some color in him and, if you look at his parents, I think you might even say his lineage is black. Remember, blacks come in all shades. But so what? This is a modern era. Interracial relationships are more common and more accepted than ever. Black boys, for the most part, are not looking to Disney to define them in the same way girls are. Note that there are no “Disney Princes” celebrated or recognized in the same way Disney Princesses are. I agree that black boys need positive role models but I don’t think Disney needs to provide them.
    I understand your argument that now that Ms. Trice and I have “got ours” we no longer care about the black community and its men, but I think you’re wrong about us. At least, I care. But I don’t think this is as big an issue as you’ve made it out to be. Hopefully, you will see this movie at least once so that you know just what you’re arguing against. I’m not saying you should shut up and settle, only that you should fully understand your subject before criticizing it.

    Comment by Bee | Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Reply

  15. Thanks for the feedback Bee,

    But I believe it is you who has missed the point. Would you have been happy with the film if the princess was from Maldonia and the prince was black? Would you have felt like you waited your whole childhood for this movie and just tell black people that it doesn’t make a difference if the princess was black? You say interracial relationships are more common and accepted than ever before. The same is true for Disney movies that do not feature black princesses. And yet, this one is different for you, to you. If interracial relationships are so prevalent, where’s the Disney movie about the white princess who falls in love with a black man?

    What’s even more prevalent than interracial relationships in this modern era is racism against black people. Why is the relationship of the first black woman to be featured in a Disney film is an interracial one? Aren’t move black people in this modern era with other black people? And why have you been waiting for your entire childhood for your Disney role model, but then turn around and say that it is okay for Disney not to provide role models for black boys?

    You try to derail the issue at hand by writing that Disney doesn’t have any responsibility to provide black role models. Please point to any comment that said this was Disney’s responsibility? Just because it isn’t their responsibility doesn’t mean that Disney doesn’t have a social responsibility to paint black people, and not just black girls, in the same type of relationships and role models that they provide for white people. Otherwise, it looks discriminatory.

    I understand your suggestion that I need to watch the movie to fully understand what I am talking about. Again, you’re implying that I couldn’t possibly fully understand what I’m talking about. You would never make the suggestion that somebody should suffer a bullet wound before they talk about murder. You wouldn’t suggest somebody needs to be raped before they talk about the problems of rape. But people who talk about this movie would better understand how acceptable this form of discrimination is if we just allow ourselves to be swayed by its propaganda. No thanks!

    If you feel I need to see this movie before I criticize it, you are definitely missing the point. This is not a critique of the movie. This movie could be the slickest piece of propaganda ever made by man. That is not the point. This article is a critique of the social discrimination perpetrated by the Disney Corporation against the black community and how so many black people, especially black women, don’t seem to mind it because they appear to have what they have been waiting all their childhood for.

    The only thing that matters for these people, people who think like you, is that black women finally have their Disney role model. Despite the fact that Disney didn’t have any responsibility to you, you feel like your wait has been rewarded. And when somebody says that Disney should’ve made a film about a black relationship, like the way Disney is able to consistently make movies about relationships in the white community, these people want to make all kinds of excuses to tolerate Disney’s racial disparity.

    We’re living in a modern era where interracial relationships are popular. You have to watch the film before you criticize it. Disney doesn’t owe the black community anything. All of these statements may be true. But if this movie is about an interracial relationship, then the bottom line is that Disney has yet to make a film that features a relationship in and of the black community like they have done time and time again for the white community. At best, this is a movie about an interracial relationship. Black women who fantasize over any kind of relationship regardless of race have their role model. So the fact remains Disney has yet to produce a movie for the black community. So people need to stop defending this movie as something meaningful to black people.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Reply

  16. Greetings Brother and Bee,

    You know, there was a positive strong Black man in that movie and that was Tiana’s father. Unfortunately, he was totally emasculated when they:
    1. Killed him off, and
    2. Had his barely grown daughter achieve what he couldn’t manage all of his life. He worked double and triple shifts to keep his family in a shotgun house. and his wife worked too.

    And Bee, I am a Black woman too and I daresay that I’ve been one all of my life and probably longer than you. I’ve grown up watching Disney and waiting for Disney to finally come up with a sister. She could be a little too smart, a little odd (like Belle). She could be a rule breaker (like Mulan). I didn’t want her to be a traitor (like Pochahontas) and I’m glad that she isn’t. I think that you might not be old enough to understand what I saw in that movie and you are definitely not old enough to understand the argument about Naveen not being black. If the movie was all that, Naveen and Tiana would have been childhood friends, she would have always been a princess in his eyes (and he would have treated her so), and the two of them would have been dreaming about and working for this restaurant TOGETHER. Her father would not have been killed off, leaving his little girl to do what he couldn’t. Naveen would have been turned into a frog in some other way and then they could have proceeded with the rest of the movie. And there would have NEVER been a scene where a black woman woke up early, built a barge out of her own two hands, and then poled it alone while some wastrel laid back and played the banjo. Bee, Princesses don’t ever have to work that hard, because a Princess attracts a King. Superwomen work all the time and they end up with men like Naveen. That’s my problem with that end of the movie. That movie tells little black boys that if you work hard and are a family man, you will die young. If you’re a player, well then you can get a hard-working pretty girl! Perhaps you didn’t notice that at the end of the movie, Naveen was a waiter in her restaurant?

    And I haven’t really even touched on the message that movie sends on African Traditional Religions. that’s a whole nother long post.

    No, Disney didn’t make this movie for or about black people.

    Comment by allhoney | Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Reply

  17. Thanks for the feedback allhoney,

    It’s odd that people such as Bee want to claim that you have to see the movie in order to understand it better and might be more able to appreciate it. It sounds like you can put that theory to rest. It sounds like you’ve seen it and has given you even a clearer perspective of why it is an inappropriate image for the black community.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Reply

  18. Thank you for your responses, Brother and allhoney. I still disagree with you, but perhaps you were right, allhoney, when you said I am too young to understand why this movie has left so many in the black community unfulfilled.
    I certainly agree that it was unfair for James, Tiana’s dad, to die in the first scenes. The black man’s always the first to go, no matter what the genre. However, I don’t think his unfulfilled dreams brought to fruition by his daughter represent emasculation. It was a little more realistic that in 1920s New Orleans the dream of an upscale black family-owned restaurant would’ve taken a couple generations to make a reality. James is a strong character with solid morals. I accept and understand the argument that black boys could’ve had a better role model, perhaps a black man fighting the system of oppression, and that James’s fate (dying early in war) leaves them without a male-counterpart to Tiana to look up to. I still firmly believe that black boys are not looking to Disney for role models, but I suppose that is beside the point.
    Naveen is obviously not a good role model for anyone for most of the movie. He is reformed by love and, in the end, plays jazz at Tiana’s Palace. allhoney, I do recall seeing him serve minced food to his parents at the end. I’m not really sure what I should gather from that other than that he has been changed for the better by his relationship with Tiana. What I got from that was that even if you are a player, once you find the woman you love you must work to be her equal and support her dreams.
    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).
    I guess the most important thing is that I’m still waiting for the movie about a white princess (or princess of another nationality) that falls in love with a black prince. I still want to see the story that allhoney talked about, with a black girl and her prince growing up together and forming a connection founded on mutual understanding and respect forged through years of shared experiences. I’m sure I’ll be waiting for a long time, but I hope those stories are coming too.

    Comment by Bee | Friday, January 1, 2010 | Reply

  19. 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 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 the black community.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, January 1, 2010 | Reply

  20. Bee,

    Your reply is absolutely appalling in so many ways. But I will attempt to touch on the few that stand out to me in a glaring way. You said “Plus, there has already been a popular Disney movie set in Africa, The Lion King.” Um, those are animals, are you saying that animals are interchangeable with black people?

    And even if that isn’t what you are saying, if Disney or anyone else holds to that statement, didn’t Disney already make a popular film about a white princess? So why make more? So what is the problem with a princess story set off of an African folk tale, like the Chinese folk tale for Mulan? Oh, right you would have been unhappy. So, I guess it IS like BrotherP said and it is all about you.

    You said “I guess what I don’t understand is why all of the characters in the black princess’s movie have to be black.” That may not be the most important thing that is being discussed. But why don’t you answer why all the characters in Mulan were Asian, ALL the white princess movies had ALL white characters? Why? Why didn’t Disney feel the need to throw in a rainbow coalition of characters for them?

    You said “I certainly would’ve been offended if Tiana had been some trash-talkin’, agrammatical hoochie…” Why does it have to be one or the other with you? Why would they make her a trash talkin’ hoochie, just because they couldn’t make her the assimilated black chick looking to flee the black community at the first opportunity with this Maldonian dude? Is there any middle ground? A black girl who falls for an African prince. Or a black girl who falls for a black man from the north? You know that not every dude in a Disney film is a prince.

    You said “I certainly would have been upset if she had had an African prince who dressed her up in traditional clothing…” Why is this prince dressing her up? Is she subservient to whomever this prince is? The last time I checked most American women getting married, regardless of where their spouse to be is from, pick their own wedding dress. Are you assuming that African men wouldn’t be as supportive and attentive as some fictional tan man from Maldonia?

    Give it a rest. You are trying extremely hard to sell this tripe which is obviously impossible for you. You can’t turn a rotten fish into the catch of the day, no matter how fast you spin the plate. We can agree to disagree. You felt the film was enough to satisfy your low standards of what constitutes good. I feel that the movie was more blatant propaganda used to push this myth that black women have no hope of finding that desirable, interesting, attentive, supportive and handsome love interest with someone who shares their racial background. Whether that be African, a black from any country with black people or African American.

    It is completely your choice to consume the kool aid Disney calls the first black princess. I will continue to drink filtered water and sit this one out. I have better things to do than assimilate my children on how simple and alluring it is to flee the black community as soon the opportunity arises. Or how difficult and unlikely it is to find ones love interest within their own community or racial background. No thanks.

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Friday, January 1, 2010 | Reply

  21. Thanks, brother and blacksentinel! You’re right that I accept this movie for selfish, irrational reasons rather than the cold logical ones that turn you against it. I’ll agree to disagree and leave it at that.

    Comment by Bee | Saturday, January 2, 2010 | Reply

  22. Bee,

    You are truly a phenomenon of delusion. Like most people, you make the assumption that your selfish, irrational and illogical thinking is warm and fuzzy and all that matters. Anything that challenges your racist and selfish suppositions and tries to educate you to a different perspective, like caring for the black community, is cold and to be rejected. You are warm in your baseless assumptions of the black community. Caring for the black community is too cold and irrational for you. With such thinking it looks like you are not just warm but are seriously on fire.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Saturday, January 2, 2010 | Reply

  23. Not for nothing, I agree with Bee. This movie was directed at girls, not boys. Boys don’t identify with Disney characters the same way. They like shows with super heroes and people who fight. There are black heroes for these boys. But there have been a dirth of princesses. Would the movie have been better if the prince had been a black man? I don’t really know. For me, it wouldn’t have made a difference. There was nothing to the plot that involved race. The only racial comment in the story was when the two brothers selling the sugar factory said to Tiana “a woman of your background” and the look on her face said it all. Why do a Disney version of “Coming to America?” Wouldn’t some people have found that just as offensive? The stereotypes in that movie were all over the place. As a side note, I love that movie. But I don’t think it would have been as “magical” as the “Princess and the Frog,” as is. I think people just have such negative views of Disney (and I agree) that the company really can’t do anything right. The rat is all about $, and little girls is where the $ is. There was no way they were going to create a storyline like “The Wiz” where a story was simply adapted for an all black cast. It would have been viewed as pandering. Like I said, Disney can’t do anything right.

    Comment by Tasha | Sunday, March 27, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback Bee,

      But not for nothing, based on your previous comment, I’m not surprised that you would agree with Bee. The movie was billed as Disney’s first animated feature directed at the black community. It was the first Disney film where the majority of the primary cast featured black characters. It may not have been in the plot, but the movie had racial connotations all throughout it. Nobody asked Disney to do a version of “Coming to America” or a “Whiz”, although it would have certainly been an improvement over this crap. But not for nothing, even if it was directed at black girls, why would someone think it’s acceptable to ignore or disregard black boys? Why is it so acceptable to depict black girls as a separate entity from black boys? And people wonder why the black community is falling apart.

      In your previous comment you talked about dismantling racial stereotypes, but then you go to a racial stereotype to make your point. The way you make it sound, the black community is one dimensional without any variation or variety in our life experiences. You said yourself that there have been a “dirth” of princesses. And in that dirth, the vast majority have been paired with someone of their own race. If things were equal, the depiction of a black princess would have been given the same consideration. But all you can see is that people are being unfair to Disney. It’s this type of non-critical thinking that allows Disney, as well as the vast majority of other institutions, the green light to ignore the plight of the black community.

      Peace

      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Sunday, March 27, 2011 | Reply


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