Disney’s new ‘Frog Princess’

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By Sofia Donascimento

By Sofia Donascimento

Disney is launching a brand new princess!

Disney Princesses is Disney’s fastest-growing brand. Since 1999, Disney created different merchandise with princesses Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, Belle, Pocahontas, Mulan and Little Mermaid as the theme.

Surprisingly enough, after 80 years Disney finally decided to create its first black princess: Princess Maddy. Creating a black princess will most likely be an economical hit for Disney. Hopefully, the new princess will send a message to black girls that they can also be princesses.

For many years, Disney had only white princesses. In 1993, Disney added Jasmine, the first non-white princess. Later, in 1995, Disney created Pocahontas. Finally, it created Mulan in 1998.

Now, 12 years after the last non-white princess debuted, Disney will add its first black princess. I am happy with the idea of having a black princess to add a little more diversity to Disney’s well known world of fantasy.

I can’t say that I am completely happy because, unfortunately, the plot of the story has not been released yet. Since I don’t know what the story will say, I can’t say whether or not it will have a message free from biases.

Disney Company announced at its annual shareholders meeting that it had started production on a film called “The Frog Princess,” featuring its first black princess. Choosing New Orleans as the set gave Disney an opportunity to show its support for one of the places hit by Hurricane Katrina.

Regardless of Disney’s motivation, it is reassuring to know that Disney is beginning to recognize the importance of diversity in the media. It is important to have the media, especially the media devoted to children, create stories free from racial favoritism. Children’s programs need to promote positive and uplifting messages.

I hope “The Frog Princess” will present a constructive idea of blacks. Although I don’t know the reason for the title of the film, I’m not sure it is the most appropriate. Naming the first black princess “The Frog Princess” does not seem so appealing.

Other princesses Disney has, such as Belle, the Little Mermaid and Sleeping Beauty have names that suggest beauty, delicacy and adventure. I am curious to know how Disney will portray a princess as a frog.

I understand, and I am for, each princess’ uniqueness. I just hope Disney doesn’t decide to do a princess so original that it creates more room for racial biases.

It took a long time for Disney to create a black princess. Now that it will create Maddy, a new image of a diverse Disney may come into view.

If the story is positive, I think it will be great to have a black princess. Who knows, maybe if having Princess Maddy turns out to be a major hit, Disney will decide to add even more diversity to the princess world.

The new princess, Maddy, will debut in 2009.

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