Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Whipped Cream in My Cocoa? Part 2
Disney Chooses White Prince for First Black Princess

Please read Part 1 before reading this post.

We may have our first black U.S. President and First Lady but Disney put the brakes on creating a black prince. According to the U.K. paper the Mail, people are criticizing Disney for choosing a white prince to play the love interest of their first black cartoon princess. Anika Noni Rose is the voice of Princess Tiana in Disney's upcoming "The Princess and the Frog." The story takes place in New Orleans.

Singer Brandy is actually Disney's first black princess. Remember when she played Cinderella in a multicultural version of the story back in the '90s? Her prince was Filipino actor Paolo Montalban. So this isn't the first time that Disney has cast a non-black prince opposite a sista.

Princess Tiana's man is named Prince Naveen. I read Naveen is an Indian name. For my Indian readers out there, please clarify if that's correct. So lil' Tiana from the Big Easy like whipped cream in her cocoa? This guy looks white. Or could he be Creole? He does have a bit of a brown tint to his skin.

I have mixed feelings.

One one hand Disney has never featured a black regal male. The closest is King Mufasa from "The Lion King" and he's a lion. Mufasa's son Simba was voiced by a white kid. That didn't make any sense because James Earl Jones was the voice of Mufasa. Would've been nice to hear a black boy, especially since the story is based in Africa. Although the Broadway show cast black actors to portray Simba. Black men are constantly stereotyped as being no good. Not featuring a black prince could be interpreted as black men aren't prince material, just white men.

On the other hand, for years we've seen countless multiracial black female characters in movies or on TV who play the love interests of black men. Some you couldn't tell had black ancestry. Look at Will Smith. The lovers in his last two movies weren't black. "The Princess and the Frog" is the first instance I've seen where the black female love interest is clearly a sista and her lover's race is questionable. Both the black and mainstream media are flooded with images that say black men are desired by women of other races. That's not necessarily the case when it comes to black women. This movie may show black girls that their beauty can be appreciated across racial lines. I don't have a problem with that. Also there are children whose parents look like Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen.

Why is this such a big deal? Because whether we like to admit it our not media images have a strong influence on how many people feel about themselves. Just ask Lil' Kim.

I say that with all of the black millionaires who are playing ball, making songs and acting we should make our own cartoons and movies. Don't let the TV or movie screen teach your children their value.

I'll write another post on interracial relationships in the future. Not sure when. It just depends when I'm moved to write about it. What you think about the Disney's choice?


  1. When I said it would've been nice to "hear a black boy" I meant as far as Disney casting a black boy to do the voice of Simba. The people who voiced Simba were Jonathan Taylor Thomas from "Home Improvement" and Matthew Broderick.

  2. oh, okay. i just get a little touchy when it comes to people connecting certain ways of speaking/dialect to race. you know, the whole "you talk like a white girl!!!" thing. now i understand what you mean. :)

  3. No problem Anonymous. I should have been more clear in the post. I understand your concerns about people linking dialect to race b/c growing up I was told I "talked like a white girl." Thanks for your comments.

  4. Hey there, i just came across this blog by accident.

    As im Indian American, i guess i can comfirm that the name "Naveen" is certainly indian. its used only by people from the Indian subcontinent(and in the Indian Diaspora). Lol my Cousin is named Naveen :)

    I like the story and will definitely see the cartoon during the winter break. IMHO i dont find anything wrong with an Indian guy and an African American girl having a relationship...but i do accept that you have some valid points. Maybe Disney wanted to make more money by pandering to both

    Having said that, we all live in a multicultural world nowadays, thus Disney might not be too off the mark.

  5. Thank you for the info Anonymous. The prince's name is Indian as you've told us, but the actor voicing the character is Latino. I hope Disney did this story justice. Thanks for your comment and please stop by again. :)


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