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April 21st, 2009
10:41 AM ET

Disney's first black princess

CNN's Alina Cho reports on the first black princess to appear in a Disney animated film.
CNN's Alina Cho reports on the first black princess to appear in a Disney animated film.

Snow White was the first Disney princess to be featured on the big screen in 1937. Now, 72 years later Disney is introducing their latest princess - Tiana. She's the new "fairest of them all" and she's making history as Disney's first black princess.

"Finally, here is something that all little girls, especially young black girls, can embrace. And that is huge,” says Cori Murray of Essence Magazine.

Tiana's timing couldn't be better. The fairy tale princess comes on the heels of what some call a real-life fairy tale: The Obamas.

“This is the perfect one-two punch with Michelle Obama being the first African American first lady in the White House. She has really turned into this style icon. Now we have Princess Tiana. It's just a great time to be an African American woman because we are being showcased everywhere in great light,” says Murray.

While Tiana’s story shares some similarities with previous princesses she is a more modern princess. She has her own career; far different from cartoons of years past. Racial stereotypes used to be everywhere, even in some Disney productions.

But times have changed says marketing guru Linda Kaplan Thaler.

“It used to be that we would see people in black face, we would see minstrel shows we would see black people portrayed in subservient positions. And it is so wonderful that we have finally moved past these stereotypes.”

In recent years Disney has made of point of creating princesses who are more diverse. First there was Jasmine, Pocahontas, then Mulan, and now, Tiana.

Disney's marketing machine is in high gear. The doll was unveiled last month at the American International Toy Fair. The movie will be out by the end of the year.

It’s called "The Princess and the Frog." Set in New Orleans, Tiana is a waitress and a budding chef. She kisses a frog who, no surprise, turns out to be a prince.

Kaplan Thaler says that's where the story still needs some work.

"I think there are a lot of girls even at 5 and 6 years old who might scratch their head and go 'I don't know. I don't know if it's going to be solved by a prince. I don't know if a frog is going to do it.'"

Filed under: Entertainment • Pop Culture
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Lasha

    Ric you’re an idiot for thinking that only black people live in Africa. I mean if we think that by calling ourselves "African-American" it means we are describing our color we should be called "Black-Americans". Africa is our ancestors home land not the color of our skin. I'm not African-American I'm Black and proud!

    Happy for the kids, but really I don’t care. My child went as snow white last year for Halloween. Funny on one hand b/c...she’s not white, wonderful on the other hand b/c she didn’t see anything wrong with going as snow white. Not that there is something wrong just that she didn’t see snow white as being white. She knew what she wanted and didn’t let anything stop her. I wish all of us adults could do that instead of focusing on color.
    The only thing I have a problem with is black men being shown as deadbeats and that black women find true happiness with white men. That’s why I LOVE Tyler P. movies. Black men can be strong and care for their families without being a punk.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  2. Spelmanite08

    Why are people saying they don't kow why its a big deal. You are obviously why it's a big deal. Blacks just don't whine about everything. We don't Boo the other team, we just root for our own.

    Congrats Tiana!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  3. Spelamnite08

    I had to reply again after reading the first posted comment. As I said before I'm 23 so I was unfamiliar with the "Uncle Remus" chronicles or whatever. I'm glad they were discontinued. They are very offensive. Word of advice...please do not let your child view this movie. I guess the fact that it has been hidden is working because I hadn't heard about it and I'm quite sure young children hadn't either which is a GOOD thing. I don't think I would have ever bought a Disney DVD had I know who or what the Unlce Remus movie was.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  4. Kate

    Disney is doing two things with this new movie.
    1. An African-American princess. Her name is Tiana and she is voiced by Anika Noni Rose, a great actress in my opinion. She has been in Dreamgirls and is now in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series on BBC and HBO.

    2. Disney is also honoring New Orleans by using it as the setting for the movie. The movie shows Mardi Gras and early jazz music. I think that this was an inspired idea to place the movie there.

    I am a huge Disney fan and I still look foreward to each new movie. I can't wait for next year when my favorite, Beauty and the Beast is back in theaters in 3-D and I can buy it on DVD finally.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  5. Spelamnite08

    I love the fact that they did this.I've been a Disney fan for a while... I'm 23! I will not only go buy this DVD and go to support the movie in theatres,but I'm hosting a viewing party with all my sorority sisters and my two real sisters!


    April 21, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  6. Really??

    Do these impossibly tiny, anorexic-looking Barbie-clone princesses really represent anyone's reality? Who's out there demanding a full-figured princess?

    Besides, this black princess looks nothing like a real black person; she has no traditional black facial features whatsoever. She looks like nothing more than Princess Jasmine colored a little darker.

    Is one more of the endless parade of animated Paris Hiltons really a triumph for anyone?

    April 21, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  7. my gosh

    Remembered it is “Song of the South!!! Not black! The Black hungry like white's major than black. But Disney trying makes more money that is it. They make it,who are white.But it's look funny.

    April 21, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  8. J

    Walt Disney is rolling over in his grave!! LOL

    April 21, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  9. Lisa

    Wow, this amazes me. I’m being pulled in so many directions. First let me say to Cory who posted at 1:25 today. I agree with you whole heartily, pop culture doses not depict healthy black relationships and we should have different races of “Prince’s” as well.

    However in 2009 if we do not get past the notion of a “first “black princess, how will we ever get over racism. In 2009 it’s sad that we are just getting this and it’s sad that it draws this much controversy. I buy my daughter all types of dolls and yes black dolls are hard to come by (even in 2009), but the most important thing that I teach her…is when she looks in the mirror she defines who she is and who she will be…not pop culture, no matter if there is a “first” black princess or not.

    April 21, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  10. Katherine

    oops, "sick of the word".

    April 21, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  11. Katherine

    People , think about what is important. Why does everything have to
    be racial? I am sick of the work, move on.

    April 21, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  12. Jon

    For Lisa in Shelton,

    1st of all Shrek was Dreamworks....not Disney. 2nd, would it really matter what occupation that she was in or who she married? A lot of people have things to complain about when an event like this occurs. Often these are the people in life who will never be happy with what they have or who they are as a person.

    April 21, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  13. najwa

    this referrs to Bills comment on alaadin and jasmine..personally hat was a racist offense to muslims since i am 1 and another thing is no you are completley wrong in soo many ways. Arabic is not aterm reffered to as WHITE BTW most arabic countrys are in North africa..

    April 21, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  14. Chris

    Really? Is this such important news?
    not really Disney has had black people before
    I also liek how this article refers to the obamas as a "fairy tale"
    Nice one CNN
    No even though he was elected primarily because he is BLACK let us remember the REAL job of the president which is to help the country not just a figure head to show oiff to the rest of the world and look pretty like what they are making him do right now

    April 21, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  15. Aliya

    this is great..adding to the diversity of Disney princesses.

    Someone explain to me though Disney's marketing tactics with the Princesses? Cuz Pocahontus stuff is un-findable and my kids favorite. They even met Irene Bedard who voiced her last summer at a Powow fesitval in Indiana.

    And my daughters who are part native american, part british, part german, part all the Disney princesses regardless of race...cuz they pretty much can identify with all of them racially/ethnically...ha ha!

    April 21, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  16. Dennis

    Will we soon have an autistic princess or how about a wheelchair bound princess from the far away land of Detroit, MI. I mean come on "kudos" to Disney, really they dont care about what they do in regards to race, just more people buying the Disney products.

    Also can we just say Black Americans b/c how many people come from Arica now adays except Africans. I mean really African.... how many generations removed. It's like all the wanna' be Italians who were into the Soprano's. GIve it up Disney & everyone else. I want a white princess since that is "the new minority".

    April 21, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  17. marcela El Paso, TX

    You all say thank god that disney is getting more diverse but their not they are moving slower than the rest of the world. When are they going to come up with a Hispanic princess or has the world forgotten about us

    April 21, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  18. chilli

    Did Dori say "colored" princesses?

    "Disney has had colored Princesses before, all diffrent shades of them. It shoudl be about the story, and not about the amount of dark or light on the skin that you notice."

    Dori, please go back and sit on your porch swing. Wave to your black neighbors and hope to God they don't ever realize you are just a tad bit ignorant. And remember to only watch Birth of a Nation at night with the shades pulled or they'll know for sure!

    And Teri, who said:

    "Now for Song of the South, I am so sick of people calling it racist, yet you people are the same ones that will watch the movie Roots and not think twice about the racisism in there. But a movie that shows Uncle Remus as wise and kind, and all kids adore him, you call racist. So they made a “baby” out of tar, big deal. They weren’t calling it to a race of people. That’s what the doll was made of. Should we stop calling dolls made from corn husks corn dolls? What if that is insalting to a race of people."

    Teri, You cannot be that slow. In the mind, I mean. Yes, Song of the South is racist. And even though you might enjoy your old Al Jolson tunes, they are still racist. And the fact that you compared a tar baby to a corn husk doll when there is no known negative racial tie-in with a corn husk doll shows your continued ignorance.

    I am sick of non-black people wanting black people to get over something that is still not quite over. You still think all black people are criminals, and too sensitive and loud. You are also the same people who say "I have a black friend". No, you really don't because if you did you wouldn't say such ignorant things.

    Great that Disney has a black princess. Took long enough. All the black people that go to Disney World and Disney Land should have been an indicator that we are interested in fantasy as well.

    I wish we were past judging people based on their skin color. But there are still a lot of indicators that prejudice exists.

    Obama is president and I do know that he wouldn't be if not for the non-black people who voted for him. That at least gives me hope!

    April 21, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  19. Clyde

    "Song of the South" was one of my favorites as a kid. It was not racist...just an entertaining musical (Most kids if you give them the chance will grow up open minded about race.) . If it was racist my mother would not have let me watch it. I know this because I was a white minority in a southern school and my mother fought for me when the parents of the black ( That was the acceptable term back then.) kids warned my mother that it was NOT ok for me to play with their kids because I was white. We as a country have become to easily offended. Lighten up.
    As for Disney now having a black Princess....ever occur to anyone that the main color Disney sees is GREEN.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  20. Lauren

    Yes, but Disney won't release Song of the South in North America on DVD because they are afraid of racial backlash.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  21. Amber

    I'm giving Disney some props. I am 23 years old and i have been waiting for this all my life! Even as a child I would ask my mom why disney has yet to make a animated film with black characters. Yes i love the lion king but animals in africa hardly accounts for "black" characters. Its about time and im very excited. i will be taking my 11 year old neice to see this when it comes out.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  22. Ric

    K, you're an idiot. Nala was a LION, that happened to live in Africa. That doesn't mean she was Black.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  23. Bill

    Jasmine and Aladin, as far as I could tell, seemd to be Arabic, which is an ethnicity that is generally considered as being "white," in the U.S. At least, according to most standardized tests and census data.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  24. Lisa in Shelton

    While I'm thrilled for all the little girls who will now have a princess who looks like them, I hardly feel like congratulating Disney for finally coming up with a princess with dark brown skin! Geez, they even had a green Princess Fiona before they addressed this glaring omission. I think that wishing Tiana were a model or movie star rather than a cashier is frought with racial and social complications – is she a cashier because of her skin color? Does she need a prince to share her rewarding life or because being a chef isn't good enough? Is it healthy and better for our girls to think there is a definite possibility of growing up to be a thin beautiful model/movie star/princess rather than attainable, important and intelligent roles in society no matter their appearance? And so the discourse continues.....

    April 21, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  25. Lani

    Jenni: Check out on IMDB: "The Adventures of Brer Rabbit" released in 2006. Its an animated movie with all black actors doing the voices, including Wayne Brady, Danny Glover, DL Hughley, Wanda Sykes. Dorian Harewood voices "Mr Man"- a white character? Interesting that these black Hollywood stars had no issues with the "racist" stories......

    April 21, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  26. Shannon

    While Princess Jasmine is mentioned in this article, I can't believe CNN forgot to mention her on the reel they're running on TV all day today!

    Young girls enjoy acting like princesses – whether or not we as adults approve of it, understand it, or encourage or discourage it. I'm so very glad that young black girls can now have a Disney princess to identify with, model, and look up to. I asked the girls in my 90% African-American 12th grade class today what Disney princess they identified with as young girls, and they all said Pocahontus. While it was nice that they enjoyed that connection (some have Native American ancestry), I'm excited about this new princess for today's young girls.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  27. pete

    Hello? What about "The Wiz"?

    April 21, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  28. Nicole

    Please don't forget Esmeralda, the Roma princess from Hunchback of Notre Dame.

    It's true that the black community overshadows all discrimination and ethnicity issues in this country. It's also true that slavery was about Africans and it's been a big deal for this country. You know... civil wars, constitutional amendments, an issue the founders overtly debated while writing founding documents...

    We're way better at slavery now. We enlist "outsider" invisible illegal immigrant brown people. (I am saying that sort of sarcastically. I support treating all workers decently and fair wages. I just mean to say exploitation is still alive and well and a problem.)

    Boston, MA

    April 21, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  29. AC

    When is Disney going to come out with a handicapped eskimo lesbian princess? It shouldn't matter people! We're not supposed to care about race and glorifying a black princess just reinforces to children to use skin color as a basis for judgment. I see dolls and cartoon characters of all races and nationalities. I have two children, and I honestly don't think they care one way or another about skin color. Its only when adults point it out do they start to take notice. Can we please stop pointing out skin color?

    April 21, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  30. cinderella

    Actually, Disney has long been known for its strong young female characters, of whatever color, particularly in the last 20 years. The stories of its young heroines, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, and Mulan, all resonate with themes (and feature hit songs) of these young women yearning for much more out of life, so that they dare to turn their backs on tradition, family, and even the idea of settling for safe, comfortable (or even disagreeable) marriage, to get there. I never heard any rebuttal or backlash, but because of this, author Dan Brown, in "The Da Vinci Code ", actually cited Walt Disney as being a probable member of the "Priory of Sion", a group of goddess worshippers, believers of the "divine feminine".

    April 21, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  31. Bob

    I cannot understand the glee for this. The frog prince is a european story being retold with a black "princess" and this is an amazing thing? The race of the princess is irrelavant. And why is this a princess that ALL girls can enjoy, but white princesses cannot be? You want you kids to see a great AFRICAN fairy tale? Watch Kirikou.

    If you can actually watch something that is not Disney, then you will certainly enjoy this. It is in French, but there are dubbed versions. It is an amazing fairy tale....sorry, no princesses. I hope that is OK.

    April 21, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  32. Jenni

    To Jon who posted today around mother tried to find the movie Song of the South for her brother. After 3 years she finally contacted Disney who told her that the movie would never be re-released. She has also tried to order the movie (Best Buy, Media Play, etc) but they do not have the movie in their inventory. She looks at yard sales for the movie but has never found a copy.

    I can't comment on the racism of the movie b/c I've never seen it. No offense but that came out before my time!

    I agree with Payton, who cares...I thought we were past judging people by the 'color' of their skin. How can we ever have hope of racism going away when an article like this that starts two pages of comments?

    April 21, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  33. LizC

    We LOVE to watch the Disney movies from different cultures. Mulan is one of my ultimate favorites. And I'm white...well actually part Native American, so I'm not speaking as a person who has been left out. I think it's about time that Disney touches on the African American community in an animated film. I've missed the animated films, the Pixar ones are great, but I really do miss seeing little girls acting out their favorite scenes and singing along to the songs.

    April 21, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  34. travis

    I'm in agreement with the positive comments here, especially as it concerns children. I think multiracial disney cartoons continue to be a powerful way to introduce children to diversity, especially since they view it so young and frequently (it takes my nieces and nephews dozens viewings before they tire.)

    April 21, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  35. Corey

    Am I the only one asking the question "What's wrong with having a black prince?". Multi-Racialism is good, but this pattern that hollywood has of devaluing black relationships is very disturbing. As if to say "romantic black relationships are not realistic". Not just in cartoons, but this has been the pattern for virtually all of the high-profile movies with black super-stars this century. This obvious pattern makes me wonder about the motives of those who drive pop culture.

    I'm conflicted about whether I want my daughters to see the movie. I will have to watch it first. I will get them the doll though.

    April 21, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  36. JenNYC

    Firstly, regardless of color, the whole notion that little girls have to wish to be or look up to "princesses" represents a nearly unattainable social class.

    I also agree with everyone who mentioned unattainable beauty or body image ideals.

    Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, why do little girls have to be taught that they are not anyone until they find their Prince Charming? At the same time we are teaching them that they are worth more with the right man, we are again also enforcing that in order to increase your social class, you have to find a man to do it.

    These are just movies, of course, but the messages are pretty loud and clear.

    April 21, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  37. Jolie

    What about Princess Jasmine? She was one of the first non-caucasian princesses!!!

    April 21, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  38. Andrew

    So if the movie tanks, I wonder how fast the "racism" card will get thrown out.....

    April 21, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  39. luvl42

    My question is if she is a princess why is she a waitress? Aren't all the other princesses real princesses or at least semi-wealthy (Belle). Talk about stereotyping why can't her job be a model or an executive or a movie star, why does she have to be poor or atleast they make it seem that way by making her a waitress.

    I agree with Robin that we should drop the hyphenated BS. Besides not all people from the continent of Africa are black, what about Charlize Theoron (born in S. Africa) or people from Libya. When we delete the hyphen everyone is an Amerian (as long as you are a citizen).

    April 21, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  40. Erica Battle

    I think that this is really cool. And Anika Noni Rose is the person behind this role.

    April 21, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  41. Lani

    I thought the message in all these princess movies was that these were strong-spirited girls who had HOPE in spite of their circumstances. The characters color should be secondary to the storyline.

    April 21, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  42. Teri

    Wow! I too am happy that they finally have an African-American princess.

    Now for Song of the South, I am so sick of people calling it racist, yet you people are the same ones that will watch the movie Roots and not think twice about the racisism in there. But a movie that shows Uncle Remus as wise and kind, and all kids adore him, you call racist. So they made a "baby" out of tar, big deal. They weren't calling it to a race of people. That's what the doll was made of. Should we stop calling dolls made from corn husks corn dolls? What if that is insalting to a race of people.

    Haven't we moved passed this ridiculous nonsense of taking everything to mean one race or another?

    It's wonderful that Disney is making princesses of all kinds. My daughter is a huge fan of the princesses. I wish they would come out with movies that focused on the princes' as my sons love to watch them too.

    April 21, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  43. Ahmed

    How long do we have to wait for the first princess Tiana out in search of another princess I wonder?

    April 21, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  44. Marci

    Way to go Robin! I am an Italian-Slovak-American: where is my princess? I must be a racial minority too! ha, ha, ha. YES, WE ARE ALL AMERICANS FIRST. Let's get over the color issue! Who cares?

    April 21, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  45. Dori

    You know, when they make a gay or lesbian princess then I will be impressed, until then, its all just color. And as we are a melting pot nation, I jsut dont see how color matters.

    The only people who seem to care about color, are the ones who want to keep it as an issue. If you removed our skin, we would all look similar, we all are humans. its time to stop crying about color, and racism, and start caring about PEOPLE and human rights.

    Disney has had colored Princesses before, all diffrent shades of them. It shoudl be about the story, and not about the amount of dark or light on the skin that you notice.

    April 21, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  46. Marci

    A waitress is a "more independent" character? Have they tried to live on a waitress' salary? How about a princess who is successful in corporate America but is still lonely and unlucky in love?

    April 21, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  47. Robin

    I think I'll start calling myself a European American, then I can be socially diverse too. If you wer born in America, you're American. Once we drop the hyphenated BS that is "African-American", then we might defeat racism.

    April 21, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  48. val

    when is Disney going to have a princes kiss a princess or a prince saved by a prince! Get with the times Disney!

    April 21, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  49. Kai

    I thought the great cry was that "we are all the same" and color shouldn't matter. If so, then why does it matter what color the princess is? Its the story and message that should matter. I am not racist, but if some minority groups are so concerned about role models of their own race, why don't THEY create them? Why are they waiting for white-run studios like Disney to do it? How many black movie studios are out there cranking out the kids shows?????? Hopefully the girls watching these movies are smart enough to realize that a man is not going to come along and rescue them from all their problems, no matter what color any of them are! All my daughter grasped when she watched the Disney movies was that the girls were pretty and she liked the cosutmes and music; I don't think color was ever an issue.

    April 21, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  50. Mark

    As someone who grew up in the South during the 60's (born in '56), who as a child went to an (unremarkably) integrated Catholic elementary school, whose "third grandmother" happened to be black...

    I don't get it. People are people. Some (of all colors) act according to antiquated stereotypes; frankly, I think these people border on the sociopathic. Most people (of all colors) nowadays act like – and see others as – just other Americans.

    Glad to see that Disney has another American princess (Pocahontas, of course, being the first); glad also to see that she's from my home town. But the color of her skin makes absolutely no difference to me. If it does to you – ask yourself why.

    April 21, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  51. Hannibal

    People of the African Diaspora come in a multitude of colors. This said, why shouldn't the Prince for the Princess be an "olive-skinned" man who is Afro American or from other region of the Diaspora. Afro Americans range in every color from very dark to very, VERY light–such is the diverse beauty within Afro America and the African Diaspora which includes 'BRAZIL."

    Cannot help but be OFFENDED that many are saying that the Prince isn't Afro American or non African Diaspora simply because he is olive-skinned (i.e. light).

    April 21, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  52. Dennis

    Lo and behold, skin color DOES matter! How ironic that it's the "diversity supporters" who demonstrate that fact to us.

    April 21, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  53. Qin

    Mulan was not a princess. She was not born a princess and she did not marry a prince in the end. She ended up with a captain, who himself was the son of the General. So we have not had an Asian princess. If we are going to count all heroines as princessess than Esmeralda from Hunchback was a princess too and so was that chick from Hercules but you don't see their faces on any stuff.

    April 21, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  54. Attison Umbeki

    A black European-style princess is as authentic as a Chinese Jesus.

    By all means, Disney should embrace black culture, but they shouldn't shoehorn into pre-exisiting models.

    April 21, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  55. Payton

    To be honest who really cares. so there is finally a black princess, yay, big deal. How can people say that they are not racest when they make such a big deal about a black princess or a black president. Let ist be, seriously just get past the whole "african american" thing a let it just be AMERICAN. Isnt that the point anyway.

    April 21, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  56. Kai

    I am a mother of a 4-year old daughter who just loves the princess thing. I am so happy that Disney has finally decided to create an African-American princess. It pains my heart when my child tells me that she can't be a real princess because she is not White. I have tried to explain to her that she can indeed be a princess and now I have the image to back up my words. I hope that each and every parent with a daughter rushes out and buys Princess Tiana for all of our beautiful daughters so they can see themselves and also that a princess doesn't just have to be white. It is about time!!!!!

    April 21, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  57. Angel

    I think the race card is silly when it comes to "first black" this or that. they are black, brown, blue, yellow, pink, it's a person, get over it already.

    April 21, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  58. injun

    I can't wait for my daughter to have a Native American princess to look up to! Our heritage is gone, completely, swept under the rug. Quite sad, everyone else is ENCOURAGED to hold on to their heritage in this country. I also can't wait for the first half Native American president!!!! Party store owner, a gift from the government, maybe??? The list goes on.. This little thing in America, the whole "This race has that", "We want this for our race", "We want public foot baths", blah, blah blah, is sick. I am still wondering why this story is even news worthy, the connotation of it, anyway. A "black" cartoon princess. WTF??? Is it really some kind of ground breaking mental "win" for black people?? Really? Please!

    April 21, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  59. k

    What about Nala? She wasn't white, and if you want to get technical, she WAS African..... 🙂

    April 21, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  60. Lady Byrd

    A remake of Cinderella starring Brandy does NOT count as having a Black Disney Princess character... This is the fourth time i've read this story in two years, when are they going to release the movie???

    April 21, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  61. Nia

    I have always loved Disney movies, even though I haven't agreed on everything they've created over the years, but I must say It's about time!! It's a shame that it's taken them 72 years to create a black princess, but I'm so glad they've finally taken the initiative to do so. It's important for all young girls to have something, someone that looks like them that they can look up to, especially when movies and the media in general has so much influence over our children. This couldn't have come at a better time, having the first African American first lady, and it's about time that Black women are being portrayed in a positive light in the media.

    Just to respond to Robin Smith, yes Disney did have the movie with Brandy as Cinderella, but she wasn't the first black Disney Princess. Brandy's character was based off of white Cinderella, they just wanted to add a different spin to the movie with Cinderella being black, the queen played by Whoopi Goldberg being black, the King being white and the prince being Asian. They were going for a multi-cultural version of the orginial movie.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  62. Miranda G. from Alabama

    Ever since I was a little girl and fell in love with Disney I wondered why most of the "princesses" looked alike. I remember talking with my friends even in high school why there wasn't a black princess. I come from an upbringing of being taught that all people are people regardless of what they look like and should be treated with respect. I also come from an area where that isn't very widely accepted.

    I am ecstatic to see that Disney has taken the initiative to create more diverse characters that young girls can relate too, not only relating to race but also portraying their "princesses" in stronger, more independent character roles.

    Another small step towards making diversity and multiculturalism mainstream 🙂

    April 21, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  63. Lil Bit

    So we are still waiting for a mexican princess then right? And she will be coming to us when?????

    April 21, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  64. paco

    i'm looking at the monary value can you imagine whent hey come with the black princess doll and you hold on to it for some years .......just think about it'money mo'money.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  65. Amy

    So did we get articles like this, saying "it's a great time to be Asian" when "Mulan" came out? What about "it's a great time to be Middle Eastern" when "Aladdin" arrived in theaters? Or how about Esmeralda, the virtuous Gypsy from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," who engaged in a mult-racial relationship with the Caucasian Phoebus? In "The Emperor's New Groove," we had a Peruvian male lead, and in "The Lion King," diversity took it a step further with a furry princess, Nala (later Queen).

    I really don't care what color my Disney princess is, so long as Phil Collins isn't recording any of the tracks to accompany the movie ("Tarzan" and "Brother Bear" were abominations to the Disney canon). It's lovely that they're adding to the animated rainbow, but I agree with Robin Smith, Brandy starred as Cinderella, the quintessential Disney princess in 1997, with an Asian prince, who had a Hispanic father and African American mother!

    In recent history, Disney has done much to further the causes of diversity, so yes, there's a black princess, but I think everyone should be more excited to see Disney return to its classic cartoon format. Pixar is a fabulous company with equally fabulous Disney-backed movies, but the art form of animation has been lost in recent years, and I, for one, cannot wait to catch myself singing whatever catchy tunes are born from "The Princess and the Frog."

    April 21, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  66. Johnny

    Jules, for one thing "Tar Baby" as it is used in Song of the South is not racist. Br'er Fox created the tar baby to trap Br'er Rabbit. In fact "Tar Baby" was founded in African lore. So you pronouncing it as incredibly racist is ignorant and overly sensitive. Tar Baby is even defined as "something from which it is nearly impossible to extricate oneself." Plus don't forget the movie got James Baskett the first Oscar for someone of African descent. Onto Disney, I am truly dismayed by this article and the general norm of "First's." There shouldn't be a first black, white, tan, or other color for anything. Disney produces stories based on regional and folklore. Trying to claim Disney is some how racist or keeping the black man down is appalling. Most kids don't even see the color of the princess unless their parents who have an agenda say something. You want equality in movies, TV, games stop bringing up race every 10 minutes.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  67. arfnwoof

    I remember the tar baby. It was a baby... made out of tar for the purpose of catching Rabbit. When the tar baby wouldn't politely respond to Rabbit's 'How do you do?' (because he wasnt real and just a tar-scarecrow of sorts) Rabbit got in a physical confrontation with it, thus getting his paws stuck in the tar. How exactly is that racist?

    Im so tired of the negativity SotS gets for being racist when Uncle Remus was the wisest, most kind and level headed figure in that movie. The most substantial point you can make for it being racist is that it didnt show the social turmoil present in the reconstruction, but its a kids movie, do we really need that in there? I saw 1776 (the musical) and didnt get a whiff of the bloodshed that formed this country, but I didnt hear anyone complaining about that.

    I'm glad that Disney is offering a diverse range of characters, but isnt it a bit racist to make it news every time they do? Racism means you are focusing on someones genetic attributes rather than their personality and that goes just as much for positive things as negative. How are we supposed to overcome racism if we wont stop talking about what color the new princess is?

    April 21, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  68. Aaron

    I think this is a horrible move by Disney, not because the princess is black, but because she displays the unattainable ideal of thinness present in all other Disney princess'. Now Disney can socialize all children to believe that this type of body is the only acceptable type. Way to go Disney, keep on screwing up our children.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  69. Jo

    About time. We've had white, Indian, and asian as far as I can tell. You're going to make millions of little girls happy, and proud.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  70. Becky

    I guess I never really noticed that there wasn't a black princess. Disney has had other-racial princesses for years, but I don't remember a big deal being made about that. Either way, it will be nice to see a new face amongst the princess greats- I'll be sure to get my daughter some merchandise.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  71. Dawn

    I'm happy to see the diversity. My grandparents immigrated here from Italy, and am happy to see every American represented in may of today's entertainment.

    However, I hate that this is considered news.

    I also despise the whole "Princess finding her prince" theme. Women are more defined than the man they end up marrying!

    April 21, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  72. Shamia

    May I add that even though Pocahontas and Mulan both appeared before the newest Princess Tiana; it was the Arabian Disney Princess Jasmine to make the first appearance in 1992 as a princess of ethnicity other than white. So though I feel the addition of more diversity to the "assortment" of Disney princesses is encouraging, it should be noted that diversity has already been introduced into Disney- in in some manners it is interesting that as a society people didn't make that large of a deal about the other princesses. Additionally, if Disney really want to make a statement than why don't they make a prince of a different race... I mean men are to this day still considered superior in ways, thus changing his role seems much more significant than that of a women (which if you ask me is very unfortunate- but a completely different topic).

    April 21, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  73. Johnny Too Good

    Cant wait til it comes out on dvd

    .......... so when are the Latinos and Asians gonna get their chance? lol

    April 21, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  74. jonjonjon

    Yeah what about Jasmine? She was before Pocahontas and Mulan. Come to think of it; I can't even remember the last time a Disney Princess was WHITE! Although I may be wrong, I haven't exactly been keeping track of this but it seems like Disney's been pretty diverse for the past 15-20 years.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  75. Lia

    Don't forget Pocahontas too!

    Ps. Sorry, misspelled Cinderella.....

    April 21, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  76. Cecilia

    Why does it gotta be the black princess to kiss the frog. Why can't the black one be snow white. With an evil white stepmother, huh. Why does the black one have do something grimy and kiss a frog. Why couldn't she kiss a beautiful white dove?

    I'm just playing I think it's great that disney has a black princess, long over due. My daughter kept holding to Jasmin as the only ethnic princess to hold onto. 🙂

    April 21, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  77. Lia

    Actually Disney has been showing diversity for years now. We've had Jasmine. We've had Mulan. We've had Brandy's version of Cinderelle.

    We've also had Aladdin as the main character (prince instead of princess).

    Diversity is not just about Black. It's about ALL Races and ALL Genders.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  78. Buddha

    First Black Princess is great! Now hows about Disney come out with the first Disney Princess with a NORMAL body! I mean really the playboy-bunny type body that all of the Disney Princess's sport is ridiculous! Im not saying that she should be fat. Just NORMAL!

    April 21, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  79. kathie

    i agree with robin – CNN do your research – Pocahontas was not the first – Jasmine, from the Disney movie Aladdin, showed up three years earlier and is still very popular at the parks and with merchandise

    April 21, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  80. Fred Robinson

    Good Morning Alina:

    Good story. Disney is the best.

    Please say hi to Kiran for me.


    April 21, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  81. Roz

    This is great, just what my Granddaughter has been asking for!!!


    April 21, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  82. Steve

    "Cinderella is played by Brandy (sp?), the prince is Paolo Montalban, the Queen Mother is Whoppi Goldberg, the fairy godmother is Whitney Houston. It is an absolutely beautiful production, multi-racial and, in fact, the first Disney I let my kids watch because it represented so much racial diversity"

    I'm confused...princess is black, godmother is black, queen mother is black...where is the diversity? There's nothing wrong with an all black cast, but it's not diversity, diversity means there are several DIFFERENT races involved. Imagine if a caucasian person would only watch a BET show if it had an all white cast, what would the reaction be then?

    April 21, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  83. kmnecole

    It is about time!- we've had the classic Cinderalla, Snow White, Belle, Ariel- we've even had Jasmine and Mulan

    It's 2009 and we finally get an African-American princess

    I am African-American as is my daughter and she loves princesses. I have no problem telling my child that all races are beautiful, so we do have white princess dolls at home- however, it is frustrating that the only images she sees of princesses do not look like her. My daughter is only 4, so I've just recently had to do the doll shopping thing, and that's when I realized there are no black princesses.

    So, finally, cheers to disney. We have 6 princess dolls at home- Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, Jasmine and Rapunzel- and I look forward, with great pleasure, to adding to that collection and providing my little princess, with Princess Tiana

    April 21, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  84. Matt

    Who cares if we are all the same then why the big deal

    April 21, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  85. Sandy

    Robin, please read that they were talking about animated black princess. Brandy was not portrayed as animated.

    This is a great thing. Its about time.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  86. Rich

    The article is refering to the first black princess in a Disney animated film, and not a feature film with live actors.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  87. Erin

    In Response to Robin Smith – " CNN – do your research. Disney came out with a “black princess” in 1997 with Roger’s and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.”

    Robin, while Disney put together a production of CInderella, it was by no means created by them. Yes, it was great to a have such a diverse cast, however you said it yourself, it was , "Roger's & Hammerstein's 'Cinderella'. " Disney re-created someone else's genius.

    I think it's great that Disney is creating it's own story about a black heroine. It's about time!

    April 21, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  88. Patricia

    Cool, i think it's great! (I'm caucasion)
    Can't wait to see her in person!

    April 21, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  89. josh

    The cut line on the video says "CNN's Alina Cho reports on the first black princess to appear in a Disney animated film."

    Animated films being the key words.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  90. Shina

    I'm so happy about this. I'm glad that my girls will have a doll that looks like them. Hoorayyyyyyyyyy

    April 21, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  91. Elisa

    I am excited about an African American Princess! I hope that the media does not make too big of a deal about her being African American, because then we are saying "WOW, something different that American are not used to". Just let it be and enjoy it.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  92. What took so long?

    I am tired of companies like Disney/Barbie (Mattel?) getting credit after dragging their heels for so many years. People see through the lies, the history rewriting. What about more minorities on TV? Why is THAT taking so long? Still-it is nice to FINALLY see cartoons with positive images of African-Americans.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  93. Michael

    Congrats to Disney. There will be some who critisize, but in the end it was a good thing that Disney honored "All" races and nationalities. God Bless The the Wonderful world of Disney. My Daughter will be excited for this movie.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  94. Anon

    You forgot princess Jasmine from Aladdin.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  95. Jon

    I'm still waiting for Song of the South to come out on DVD (or even VHS). I remember watching that movie maybe twice as a child before it was wiped from the face of the earth, presumably for being 'racist.' (I don't recall the crows from Dumbo being excised like Remus was!). I just laugh at Disney world at the little kids who ride the Song of the South water ride and have no idea who the characters are!

    It's great that Disney has finally decided to make a black main character, although, like was lampooned on the Daily Show when the announcement was first made, it has only come after every other race (and even animals) have been exhausted. Plus: a princess? really? Haven't we moved beyond that yet?

    April 21, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  96. jules

    I can't believe Justin's comment. "Song of the South" was incredibly racist! Hello...the tar baby? Remember?

    April 21, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  97. Robin Smith

    CNN – do your research. Disney came out with a "black princess" in 1997 with Roger's and Hammerstein's "Cinderella." Cinderella is played by Brandy (sp?), the prince is Paolo Montalban, the Queen Mother is Whoppi Goldberg, the fairy godmother is Whitney Houston. It is an absolutely beautiful production, multi-racial and, in fact, the first Disney I let my kids watch because it represented so much racial diversity as a NORM, not something that stood out by itself.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  98. Colleen

    It's about time!

    April 21, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  99. Justin

    Is it a problem that little girls want to meet a prince, or is it a problem that there just aren't enough princes out there? Me thinks there's nothing wrong with meeting the dude of your dreams... and on the other side, meeting the your kind of chica ain't bad either.

    Besides that, Disney's racial diversity really started way back with Song of the South where Uncle Remis is presented as a grandfatherly figure to both dark and light colored children who listen to his wise stories.

    April 21, 2009 at 11:02 am |
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