Are They Sure They Want to Make Her Black?
This is July and Disney is still making changes to “The Frog Princess”?
EURweb is reporting that Disney is going back and removing anything that seems like a black stereotype or racist. Her name has been changed from Maddy to Tiana and she no longer has a voodoo priestess for a fairy Godmother. They also changed the race of her prince, who has gone from white to having Middle Eastern heritage and is named Naveen.
The story still takes place in New Orleans during the Jazz age.
I can understand that many want the first black princess film that Disney makes not to be reminiscent of “Songs of the South”. We are right to protect our image, but some of it seems like unwarranted nitpicking. Like the name Maddy. Maddy sound a lot like Mattie which, in fact, is the name of several relatives of mind and a name that I’ve entertained giving to a future daughter if I should have another. Yeah, I guess it rhymes with mammy but so does Sammy. And really, I’m not too hyped on Tiana which sounds like it could possibly be an average ghetto name.
The fact that they don’t have a black prince is sad (although I don’t have a black prince either, so I guess I can’t really cry) but aside from that is it really necessary to look at everything that a mainstream company does and make them tell the story the way we would tell it if we could get someone black to do it.
Jimi Izrael thinks it might be too much for us to expect that Disney will get the black experience right on the first try. Besides that, Disney’s main objective is to make movies that make money.
“Unfortunately, while there are a few ethno-centric ‘toons, no black animation companies with Disney power come to mind, so we’re stuck.” Izrael wrote on The Root. “The truth to tell, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. I have a daughter, so it is important to me for her to see images that reflect her beauty.”
But then we did have someone come out with a full length feature film 16 years ago. Bebe’s Kids *(we don’t die, we multiply) was hyped as the first black cartoon film and it was replete with black stereotypes (crazy black ex girlfriends, badass kids, single motherhood) but did we take exception to that? Heck no, I still hear people referring to little black rambunctious as “bebes”.
So can we really expect someone else to take our image more seriously than we do ourselves?