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?