Cartoon drama

Posted: July 17, 2008 in Just "Why?"

Disney’s ‘subservient’ black princess animates film critics
By Arifa Akbar, Arts Correspondent

When Disney announced it was casting its first black princess for its latest animation film, the African-American heroine was hailed as a positive role model for little girls and an ambitious marketing ploy, not to mention an attempt to ward off the allegations of racism that have lurked since the heyday of Walt Disney Productions in the 1940s and 1950s.

But now the film studio finds itself fending off a chorus of accusations of racial stereotyping in its forthcoming big-budget cartoon, The Princess and The Frog: An American Fairy Tale, which marks a return to hand-drawn animation.

A musical set in 1920s New Orleans, the film was supposed to feature Maddy, a black chambermaid working for a spoilt, white Southern debutante. Maddy was to be helped by a voodoo priestess fairy godmother to win the heart of a white prince, after he rescued her from the clutches of a voodoo magician.

Disney’s original storyboard is believed to have been torn up after criticism that the lead character was a clichéd subservient role with echoes of slavery, and whose name sounded too much like “Mammy” – a unwelcome reminder of America’s Deep South before the civil rights movement swept away segregation.

The heroine has been recast as Tiana, a 19-year-old in a country that has never had a monarchy. She is now slated to live “happily ever after” with a handsome fellow who is not black – with leaks suggesting that he will be of Middle Eastern heritage and called Naveen. The race of the villain in the cartoon is reported to have also been revised. (more…)

Other issues to be hotly debated–

#Why not an African name?
#Will Tiana be light-skinned or dark-skinned?
#Will she speak in broken English?
#Will her hair be nappy or straight?
#Weave, fro or braids?
#Big behind or flat?
#Big lips or small?
#Will she come from a broken home?

Stay tuned!!

  1. Cobb says:

    You know, there is no end to the dysfunctions of Disney princesses. The Feminists have pretty much nailed it; you will find of all the Disney girls, not one of them, not one, has anything approaching a normal mother.

    Little Mermaid: no mother
    Cinderella: no mother, evil stepmother
    Snow White: no mother, evil witch
    Beauty & The Beast: no mother, dopey father
    Sleeping Beauty: no mother, three good fairies, one evil fairy, uncaring father
    Pocahantas: her ‘mother’ is a tree.
    Jasmine (Aladdin): no mother, doting idiot father
    Mulan: I think Mulan actually did have a mother, but was guided by a dragon fairy.

    You cannot expect any Disney princess to have anything but an abstract family. All of these homes are broken, which is part of the point. Nobody really asks who Robin Hood’s mother or father is. Expect no family values.

  2. Tamara says:

    I have correct a few things…

    1. Sleeping Beauty did have a mother and a father in the Disney movie. They sent her away to protect her from the curse the evil witch had placed upon her in infancy.

    2. Mulan not only had a mother, but a grandmother as well. The grandmother was the one who gave her the cricket and set her up with the town matchmaker.

    This latest Disney movie will be interesting. We have to keep in mind that Disney cannot possible represent all black folks in one 90 minute movie. Most kids will look for a good story, snazzy songs, and unusual characters.

  3. avery says:

    i’ve actually seen some of the roughs of the character. because they were pencil sketches, i can’t tell whether she was light-skinned or dark-skinned, but she got the big, generic cartoon “black folks” hair – it could be a bountiful natural or somethin, but it ain’t quite a fro. on second review, i think she gonna be pretty brown. not dark-dark, but brown-brown. we’ll see tho. these sketches are from back when she was maddy

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