Ah, finally, a black princess!
And it only took Disney 72 years from the debut of our first princess, Snow White. We can all breathe a sigh of relief.
- Tiana is not even the beginning princess in her own film. Charlotte, the rich white girl Tiana’s mother works for, is the initial princess.
- Tiana is falls in love with a white boy. Now, he may have olive colored skin and an accent, but for all intents and purposes he’s a freaking white boy. There’s nothing quite like having a movie dripped in that racism. Because black boys don’t need heroes, right? (sarcasm~~)
- Tiana is a frog for the majority of her time onscreen. Disney couldn’t even allow her to be the black human being she is.
- The representation of voodoo is disgustingly racist. Racialicious, a blog dedicated to the discussion of race issues in pop culture, sums this up nicely in this article (please read the whole thing, it is excellent):
“To underline how offensive The Prince and the Frog’s version of voodoo is, imagine if another religion were treated as a system of enchantment that could be employed for good or for ill. Imagine if the prince had been changed into a frog because a Catholic priest, referred to as a magician, who is wearing a Roman collar but seems to exist in a separate universe from the actual tenets of Catholicism, sprinkled him with cursed water from a baptismal font, and the only way for the prince and Tiana to save themselves was for them to get the pope-wizard to feed them magical communion wafers. It’s because voodoo is an African religious system that it can be treated with such license as though it weren’t a real religion like Christianity or Hinduism.“
- The villain in this movie is a black person. The princess is a black person. But the prince is a white person. This is white colonialism’s defense: white man saves brown woman from brown man. No, sorry. Not ok.
Ok, ok, so everything I’ve said and read about The Princess and the Frog has been negative. here are some of the things that I enjoyed:
- Tiana has her own goals outside of finding a man or falling in love. Her restaurant! How awesome! She wants to run a business!
- Tiana represents a different socioeconomic status than the other princesses. Not many of us are the rich and fortunate Sleeping Beauty or Ariel. Not actually being royalty made Tiana more relatable.
Feminist rating: 6/10
Passes Bechdel Test
Passes Racial Bechdel Test