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Monday, May 11, 2009

Next Up, The Official trailer for Disney's Princess and the Frog! And You Guessed It....It's Rife With Controversy

I'm not sure what to think about this upcoming animated feature. On some level, I grow weary of the never-ending acknowledgment of Black firsts. It just seems that in the 21st century (and yes I'm aware of the historical significance of President Obama) we should have advanced beyond the need to constantly break barriers based on race. But I am also not naive to the reality that race still matters to some folks and unfortunately American culture has yet to accept Black and Brown cinematic royalty in a matter-of-fact fashion. The above Youtube clip of Disney's Princess and the Frog shows a truly beautiful piece of animated art, yet the Black princess is not allowed to have a Black male counterpart. There is nothing wrong with the character having a White paramour but there is something to be said with having all types of love portrayed. We have yet to see a White cinematic princess profess her love for a male of color so why is it palatable for the converse? And then there's the question of the moviegoing audience. It is highly plausible that neither a Black or White audience would pay attention to a film of this nature without the multi-racial bent. Heck, there was a contingent of Black critics that had a problem with the character's original name of "Maddie" because it sounded like the more racially charged "Mammie" moniker. So now we have Princess Tiana which sounds more ghettocentric and less accurate for the 1930's Louisiana backdrop for which this animated effort takes place. And then there's Disney's history regarding it's depiction of people of color. Click on the link below from Cracked.com for a corresponding timeline:

The 9 Most Racist Disney Characters

Is the Princess and the Frog a leap (pun intended) forward or backward in the annals of Black imagery? Your thoughts?

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