By Sade Hurst / Staff Writer
By Sade Hurst / Staff Writer
Once upon a time it was claimed that Disney did not do their homework on princesses of different cultural backgrounds.
They’ve upset critics with films like “Aladdin,” “Pocahontas,” and even “Mulan.”
Now Disney has done all their research on the culture of the new film “The Princess and the Frog,” and made sure that there is no way anyone can get offended.
But, like any other film Disney makes, there will always be critics to tell them think again, the film is still offensive.
Disney’s new film “The Princess and The Frog” has caused more controversy over a children’s film than any other Disney film before.
The film is supposed to be a new 2-D Disney Princess classic feature.
The film stars an African American girl named Tiana, who lives during the 1920s Jazz era in New Orleans.
She works as a waitress in a restaurant and is working hard toward her dreams of owning her own restaurant.
Some believe that this will teach young girls of all races that if they work hard they can achieve anything.
What separates Princess Tiana from the rest is that she’s not looking for Prince Charming and Prince Charming isn’t looking for her.
Both Tiana and her prince are strong go-getting characters.
It took a lot of revisions to this film for it to be even advertised.
Princess Tiana’s name was originally Maddy (which was a nickname for Madeleine), and her occupation was not a cook but a house servant.
Thanks to critics that think too much about these things, the film was readjusted to the satisfaction of its critics and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who previewed the film.
The arguments that critics have brought up are somewhat valid, even the one brought up about the fact that the prince and princess are an interracial couple on the AOL Web site that lets African-Americans state their opinion about the new Disney princess.
But the critics are not asking the real question, why did Disney create another American princess?
Disney did a great job asking American audiences how they felt about this but they did a bad job paying attention to their international audience.
Yet Disney has become an international company, so why didn’t they create something for that audience?
If this was a long awaited film for all Blacks, Disney only paid attention to African Americans and forgot all about Blacks from all over the globe.
Tiana is from Louisiana which most Blacks should be offended by because it makes it look like all Blacks came from the South.
How can they explain this to a little Black girl from France that her ancestors are not from America’s Southern roots?
Disney failed to recognize while making this film that they have a larger audience that will also keep a close eye on this film and did not succeed in representing a Black princess for all Blacks.
African Americans should be proud about how Disney portrayed them for audiences, but should demand that they make a film for all Blacks if Disney has the international audience they say they have.
It is possible, they did a good job by not indicating where the Native American princess Pocahontas came from, yet it gave a sense of pride to Native American girls no matter where they were from.
Plus it is time that they portray the culture of Africa’s past just like they did for China with the film “Mulan,” which showed the strength of China’s past.
Disney should look into Africa’s past because it will not be that hard to find a good story about an actual princess.
Just look at the Zulu tribe, one of Africa’s most talked about tribes from the past.
I’m pretty sure there is some strong woman that has a story to tell.
Plus it would be nice to see a film done about the people of Africa rather than just the animals.
Even though “The Lion King” was a good film and had a diverse cast, the film had no Black characters.
Disney has proved that they can put in the time to put in more research by going to their American audience, but now it’s time that they take a look into all of their audiences.
Disney has done a wonderful job in creating awareness of other cultures such as Native American, Chinese and French.
If Africa is brought to the lime light, like how France is in the film “Beauty and the Beast,” we may just learn something from it since we at least learn how to say hello in French from “Beauty and the Beast.”
The Disney princess is becoming more diverse and Disney has really done a good job in tapping into the suggestions of their American clients.
“The Princess and the Frog” will have more children curious about the Jazz Age of New Orleans in the 1920s.
Yet, it is time Disney pay attention to their international viewers as well and create a film about a young South American, African, Irish or even Australian princess to her truest ancestral form so that all young children can see diversity.