Bee Defends The Princess And The Frog – Part I
”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.” – Bee
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 more 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.