Last year I found out that Walt Disney Studios was working on a fairy tale entitled, “The Frog Princess”, based upon the classic fairy tale The Frog Prince, with a scheduled release date of December 25, 2009, with the studio using Disney’s 2-D animation. It will be the first traditional animated feature (2-D) since 2004’s Home on the Range. When finished, it will take its place as the 48TH animated feature by Walt Disney Animation Studios. This is to be a return to the studio’s fairy tale legacy, as well as hand-drawn animation, only this time it would have a Black girl as the lead character, unlike the many non-Black female characters from the past. Here is the press release that Disney Studios gave on the upcoming cartoon in March of last year:
March 08, 2007
“NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana – (March 8, 2007) — The Walt Disney Studios will continue its fairy tale legacy in animation by taking moviegoers on an all-new “once upon a time” musical adventure with its 2009 release of “The Frog Princess,” it was announced today by Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, and John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. A musical set in the legendary birthplace of jazz – New Orleans — “The Frog Princess” will introduce the newest Disney princess, Maddy, a young African-American girl living amid the charming elegance and grandeur of the fabled French Quarter. From the heart of Louisiana’s mystical bayous and the banks of the mighty Mississippi comes an unforgettable tale of love, enchantment and discovery with a soulful singing crocodile, voodoo spells and Cajun charm at every turn.
“The Frog Princess” is based on an original story written by Disney’s acclaimed filmmaking duo John Musker & Ron Clements (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “Hercules”), who will also direct. Oscar®-winning songwriter/composer and New Orleans native Randy Newman (“Toy Story,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Cars”) will write songs and the score for this project. Peter Del Vecho, a 12-year Disney animation veteran, will produce.
Commenting on the announcement from The Walt Disney Company’s 2007 Annual Meeting of shareholders, Cook said, “We’re pleased to be here in the heart of New Orleans to announce ‘The Frog Princess,’ a great story with all the ingredients that go into making an extraordinary motion picture experience. Like many of Disney’s most popular fairy tales, it has elements of magic, fantasy, adventure, heart, humor, and music. The film’s New Orleans setting and strong princess character give the film lots of excitement and texture. We’re also thrilled to have John Musker, Ron Clements and Randy Newman lending their talents and creative energies to this project. John and Ron helped to usher in Disney’s second golden age of animation nearly two decades ago with ‘The Little Mermaid,’ and are on track to create the Studio’s next great fairy tale adventure.”
John Lasseter added, “Aside from being longtime friends and colleagues, John and Ron are two of the most influential and imaginative filmmakers in the animation medium, and I am so excited to be working with them in bringing their creative vision
for ‘The Frog Princess’ to the big screen.
They’ve come up with an original story that is deeply rooted in the fairy tale tradition, and it’s filled with great humor, emotion, and musical moments. Randy Newman brings fun and excitement to every project, and I couldn’t think of a better choice to deliver some wonderful New Orleans style music.”
John Musker & Ron Clements have directed and produced five feature films for Disney including “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin.” Additionally they received story and/or screenplay credits as well. Musker began his career at Disney in 1977, after studying character animation at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). He started as an assistant animator and went on to animate on “The Fox and the Hound.” Clements started at Disney in the Talent Development Program, and went on to serve a two-year apprenticeship under Disney animation legend, Frank Thomas. He moved from in-betweener to assistant to animator/storyman with credits on such films as “Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too,” “The Rescuers,” “Pete’s Dragon,” “The Fox and the Hound,” and “The Black Cauldron.”
Randy Newman is a 17-time Oscar® nominee and winner (in 2002) for his song, “If I Didn’t Have You,” from the Disney/Pixar film, “Monsters, Inc.” Among his many achievements, he has contributed songs and musical scores for such other Pixar animated features as “Toy Story,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Cars.” Newman’s impressive list of film credits also includes scores for “Ragtime,” “The Natural,” “Parenthood,” “Awakenings,” and “Pleasantville.” He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002, and his other career milestones include three Grammy Awards, an Emmy, the first Henry Mancini Award for Lifetime Achievement, and an Annie Award.
Peter Del Vecho began his association with Walt Disney Feature Animation in 1995, following a 15-year stint working as a stage manager, production manager and associate producer in the world of live theater. From 1986-95, he worked for the renowned Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, leaving there as associate producer. At Disney, Del Vecho was the production manager on “Hercules” and associate producer on “Chicken Little,” among other projects. A native of Boston, he received a degree in Theatre Arts from Boston University.
Maddy, the animated heroine in “The Frog Princess,” will also join The Walt Disney Company’s venerable court of beloved Disney princesses as they continue to enjoy the royal treatment at Disney’s theme parks, consumer products, publishing, Internet and other businesses worldwide.”



Disney's The Frog Princess
Walt Disney will soon have a new heroine — a black princess.
(Original animation of The Frog Princess.)


Fot those of you not familiar with the tale of the frog prince, it is based on a Grimm’s Brothers fairy tale of a spoiled princess who reluctantly befriends a frog, who magically transforms into a handsome prince. In modern versions of the story the transformation occurs when the princess kisses the frog. In the original Grimm version, the frog’s spell was broken when the princess threw it against the wall in disgust. (The throwing of the frog against the wall might seem barbaric, but, this was an act to remove the spell against the frog. In some other versions of the story, the princess had to chop the frog’s head off to turn him into a prince.)
When I first heard of this movie, many red-flags came to mind. How would Disney Studios handle a film with a Black girl as the lead? Then, there was that title: Frog princess. Okay. “Frog” princess. Why name her frog princess? Haven’t there been enough frogs kissed by other princesses? Should a little Black girl have to kiss a frog to be a Disney character? Could she have had a more original story?
Then there was the moniker they had given the Princess:  Maddy,  which made me a bit peeved, since it sounded too much like Mammy.  Then there is a question I would ask Disney Studios:
What took you (Disney Studios) so friggin’ long?
Seventy one years later, after all of your heroines, you finally see fit to make a cartoon about a little Black girl. I guess your conscious finally caught up with you or probably because you see that you can make more money off Black people, but, whatever the reason, here’s my take on this upcoming fairy tale.
Back to the title:  Frog Princess. The first thought that came to mind was a little female frog that was a princess, not the image of a human being (leave it to Disney to call a Black human being by an animal’s name).
Then there was the statement from Disney that she was to be a chambermaid.
Okay, I guess we Black women and girls will never get past being everyone’s maid, chamber or otherwise. I guess in everyone’s eyes, including Disney’s, we are destined to always carry out everyone’s slop jars.
Then there is the statement that voodoo abounds, since all of us Black people are such voodoo experts (I prefer the spelling Vodoun, ‘kay)? Oh, yeah, I remember. I did my best Vodoun spell last night. So silly of me, to forget.
Then there is the villanous Voodoo priest, named Duvalier, no less.
Okay, so I guess Disney Studios never heard of the infamous Duvaliers of Haiti. Let me guess:  Disney was trying to imply that Black people are sinister and voracious like the Duvaliers. Else, why would they name one of the characters Duvalier?
Oh, and the Princess has a er, uh, Prince…who happens to not be Black. Wow, talk about opening up a can of worms with the Black community:

Disney began to feel the heat from the public (Black people): 
One of Disney’s representatives gave a press release on the name change of the movie and the lead character, and the storyline:
“The story takes place in the charming elegance and grandeur of New Orleans’ fabled French Quarter during the Jazz Age. … Princess Tiana will be a heroine in the great tradition of Disney’s rich animated fairy tale legacy, and all other characters and aspects of the story will be treated with the greatest respect and sensitivity.”
(Even then, Disney was more worried about the title being a slur against the French. Nevermind how Black Americans felt about the title.)
Anyhoo, after much anger from some Black people who contacted Disney——presto, chango!—–and voila, the title of the movie has now changed:  “The Princess and the Frog”:
“Much like Uncle Walt, Lasseter believes a director’s vision is the key to superior animation. So he wooed Ron Clements and John Musker, the writing/directing dream team behind the 1989 hit that kicked off Disney’s last 2-D golden age, The Little Mermaid, to oversee The Princess and the Frog.
The Princess and the Frog logo.jpg
The film’s characters have undergone changes as well:


  1. Originally named “Maddy” on the casting call sheet and listed as a chambermaid. Both details have been confirmed as having changed in development. The princess has a new name: Tiana.
  2. The villain’s name was originally “Dr. Duvalier” and was going to be a black Voodoo magician/fortune teller. In a recently updated script, he is both a palm reader and a Voodoo practitioner.
  3. The prince’s original name “Harry” has been replaced by “Naveen” in a revised script.
This is a list of the film’s major characters, all of them are now revealed on the official website:


Name Description Voice Actor/Actress
Princess Tiana1 The 19-year-old heroine. Anika Noni Rose
Charlotte La Bouff An 18-year-old spoiled, southern debutante and diva. Tiana’s main rival. Jennifer Cody
Dr. Facilier2 A palm reader and A Voodoo practitioner. The villain of the movie. Keith David
Mama Odie A 200-year-old Voodoo priestess/fairy Godmother. Jenifer Lewis
Ray A lovesick Cajun firefly. Jim Cummings
Louis Jazz singer alligator. Comic, manic, high-strung. Has a trumpet.
Michael-Leon Wooley
Prince Naveen3 A gregarious, fun-loving Prince who comes to the French Quarter for the Jazz scene and who Tiana and Charlotte had fallen in love with, in his early twenties. Bruno Campos
Lawrence Prince Naveen’s pompous valet. Peter Bartlett
Eli “Big Daddy” La Bouff Wealthy, Southern Sugar Mill owner and father of Charlotte La Bouff. John Goodman
Eudora Tiana’s mother. In her fifties. Oprah Winfrey



 SOURCE:  http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/princessandthefrog/

Tiana is officially now The Princess and the Frog.
Tiana the princess.jpg
A screenshot of Tiana attempting to kiss a frog in the upcoming Disney film, “The Princess and the Frog”.
So, now Disney seems to have a story that is not wrought with ethnic/racial problems. The princess and the frog. We’ll see how this story works out, upon release.
But, first things first. Let’s review Disney’s female lead characters and how they have become a part of American culture through the years.
First off, we will start with the previous Disney heroines ( and I state heroines with much hesitance because I consider Disney Studios as not much into making their female cartoon stars heroines, more like wimpy victims to me, but, I digress), and I will review how they have handled life’s tosses and turns and whether or not they are true heroines or wimps, and what type of Disney character will Tiana be?
 Will the Black Princess be a cowering, wimpering, sniveling milquetoast? Will she be a tired-out rehash of the classic damsel-in-the-distress waiting for her Knight-in-Shining-Polyester to show up?
What kind of princess will Tiana be?
So, let’s go down memory lane and rackup the heroines/wimps that Disney has presented to the public over the decades.
Pocahontas (“Pocahontas”):
Pocahontas. She builds a tenuous bridge between whites and her people. She puts the needs of her people before her desire to be with Cap. JohnSmith. She is self-sacrificing; she thinks of others and of ways to help them.
Out of all the Disney female characters, this one alone is based on a true person, Matoaka, an actual historical figure, who really lived. She is also Disney’s only official Princess.
In the movie, Pocahontas is shown as a 20-something babelicious young woman. Pocahontas also has two lovers in the Disney film, Smith, and John Rolfe.
Pocahontas of the movie Pocahontas 1995.
In real life, Pocahontas was just a young girl, and was the daughter of a Native American chief, Powhatan (also known as Wahunsenacah), who was leader of the Powhatan Confederacy.

The age of Pocahontas in 1607 at the time of John Smith’s arrival was much younger (closer to 10 or 11 according to accounts), creating a vast age gap between the two. While the real Pocahontas saved John Smith’s life from her father, there was no romance involved. With their ages being what they were, a romance would be irregular and unlikely. The real Pocahontas was not an only child; her father, Chief Powhatan, had an estimated fifty wives and an undetermined number of children. While she did indeed go to London in her lifetime, it was as a hostage, not as a diplomat. Pocahontas married John Rolfe in real life. However, this was against her will. He took an interest in her while she was a hostage, and took her as his wife (no romance involved). Her name was changed to Rebecca Rolfe (she was the first Native American to be baptized). When she did go to England, Ratcliffe (who in the Disney film shoots at her father, but instead shoots Smith, who pushes Pocahontas’s father out of the way, and wounds Smith) had already been dead for three years, therefore making a reunion and controversy between the two impossible (Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World). Her going to England did however allow peace between the Europeans and Powhatan people for many years, which was the basic point of her going there in the film as well. Around 1612 she was married to Kocoum (who asked for her hand in marriage) where as in the film he was killed shortly after their marriage was planned.


Pocahontas original.jpg
Princess Mataoka (c. 1595-March 21, 1617).
A 1616 engraving of Pocahontas by Simone van de Passe.
The original English caption (not visible here) reads “Matoaks als Rebecka daughter to the mighty Prince Powhatan Emperour of Attanoughkomouck als Virginia converted and baptized in the Christian faith, and wife to the wor.ff Mr. John Rolfe .”
The inscription under the portrait reads “Aetatis suae 21 A. 1616”, Latin for “at the age of 21 in the year 1616”.
Princess Jasmine (Aladdin”):
Princess Jasmine is is a problem solver, free-spirited, and definitely speaks her mind. She does not sit, snot and cry, and wait for someone to bail her out of life’s troubles. When caught in a trap or danger, she thinks her way out of it. (Okay—–with a little help from Aladdin.)
Princess Jasmine.jpg
Princess Jasmine.
Mulan (“Mulan”):
This little girl may not be a princess, but, she is smart, brave, and fearless. She defys local customs, at great danger to herself, to fight in the Chinese army, disguised as a man (she takes her elderly father’s place) to fight the invading Huns. This Disney story is based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. The story can be traced back to The Ballad of Mulan.
Mulan. Definitely not a wimp.
Belle (“Beauty and the Beast”):
At first meeting, Belle seems like your classic damsel-in-distress, but, don’t let that fool you. Belle offers her own life for her father’s when he is imprisoned in a castle with a beast. She keeps an upbeat attitude while under duress.  Belle is smart and has a mind of her own (She loves to read, and this is considered unusual for a woman by her fellow townspeople.) Her love towards the Beast in the end is a sign of her nonconformity and compassion for others.
Heroine. Yes.
Wimp. No.
Ariel (“The Little Mermaid”):
This little princess is feisty, zesty and rambunctious. She knows how to have a good time. She doesn’t sit around moaning and groaning, waiting for the Prince to come for her—she goes out and gets him. She goes for the gusto and grabs life to get what she wants from it.
Ariel mermaid.jpg
Ariel, as portrayed in The Little Mermaid.
No wimp material there.
Sleeping Beauty . Spends much of the movie in a comatose trance. Does not awaken until kissed by her prince.
Princess Aurora under a sleeping spell cast by the evil fairy in Walt Disney’s version of Sleeping Beauty.
Cinderella. Spends much of her time having things done to her. She is not very proactive. Only when her Fairy Godmother helps her get a life, does she liven up, and only because she loses her shoe for the prince to find.
Cinderella, 1950.
Snow White.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs poster.
Hangs out in the woods with a bunch of dwarves. While they go off hi-ho-hi-ho singing to the woods, she sits around crooning, “Someday My Prince Will Come”, as if some man is supposed to magically appear at her doorstep. She gullibly eats an apple from her arch nemesis, the Evil StepMother Queen, falls into a sleeping stupor, is kept in a coffin in the woods by the dwarves, and is awakened by a kiss from a prince. Boring.
Snow white.jpg
Snow White.
Queen of the Wimps.




It remains to be seen what kind of princess Tiana will be. It remains to be seen if there is more racial insensitivity that Disney may present on the silver screen in this movie. Racial insensitivity that is intentional—or unintentional.
Only when it is released will the final verdict be known.
“Disney Films Go From Snow White To A Black Princess”:  http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article1528077.ece
“Rhett Wickham: It’s Baaaack!”:  http://www.laughingplace.com/News-ID510530.asp
“Pocahontas:  Interpretive Strategies: Race, Sex, Other”:  http://xroads.virginia.edu/~CAP/POCA/POC-theory.html
“Pocahontas, Half-Raced, and Fully Sexed”:  http://xroads.virginia.edu/~CAP/POCA/POC_race.html
BrainFall.com – Which Disney Princess Are You?Find out which Disney Princess you are at BrainFall.com, the first personality quiz website for Facebook!






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  1. Chichi

    There are so many things wrong with this film and I might have high standards but this is ridiculous. Why is it that down the line of the Disney princesses (excluding Pocohontas) that their costars or counterparts were of the same race? Why all of a sudden when it comes to the black princess that Disney wants to change it up? It would makes sense to follow the Disney formula or blue print. I tell you why they changed the scheme of things because Disney wanted to send a message. You know what that message is? It is not practical for a black woman and black man relationship to exist. It is not the norm; therefore, a black woman would have to look elsewhere for love for her prince. In addition it is also saying that a black man could never be a prince or atleast a prince to a black woman. Yes we love interracial relationships, but why is it that the first black princess has to compromise herself to find love. It would make more sense for a white princess to have an interracial relationship first since we’ve already seen her have her white prince. Yes I am glad that Disney thought to have a black princess, but I am certainly not thankful. If they’re going to have a black princess they should present it in the right way. Also just like how I want my daughter to be able to identify with a princess, I want the same for my son. You mean to tell me that as a young black man that he can’t have someone to identify with and that he can’t be a prince. Mulan didn’t have this much controversy because the people that put that project together were knowledgeable about the history, and presented the story in a way that was uplifting to the asian community; however, with this project the people behind it don’t seem to have the same vigiliance. From the start there have been many problems as if they just decided to do the movie without doing their homework and it shows. It is very unfortunate because I have grown up watching Disney movies and looked forward to the fruitation of finally having a black princess, but I will not support this movie because of the damaging message that it is sending. Regardless of what people may think, there are beautiful black relationships.

  2. Alarmed1

    I find it hard to sympathize with the black community when every time anything that involves black people, is scrutinized and torn down.
    Before anyone goes into racial rants against me, I am a minority as well. So drop that ammo.
    I never hear Asians, Mexicans, Irish etc. complain about their representation as much as blacks.
    I mean geez stop CONSTANTLY acting like the whole world is out to get you, seriously.
    No doubt racism exists today…but it’s right in your own camp as well. Ever hear of Al Sharpton, Spike Lee, Obama’s buddy Rev. Wright?
    So, drop that ammo too.
    This article’s allegations are just ridiculous. Cinderella was a maid, snow white was poor….
    again, it just seems that the black community makes something bad about everything.
    I’m sure if this film didn’t have a black princess, there would be complaints about that too.
    Shame on you.
    You are part of the reason racism exists today, let it go. When you constantly search for ‘hidden’ meanings in anything, you’ll always find them.

    • Ann

      “I find it hard to sympathize with the black community when every time anything that involves black people, is scrutinized and torn down.”

      Black people have earned the right to scrutinize anything that concerns or involves them. Racism has ripped apart, castigated and demonized Blacks for centuries——–scrutinized and vilified us for centuries, therefore, we have earned the right to decide which images do or do not represent us positively.

      “Before anyone goes into racial rants against me, I am a minority as well. So drop that ammo.”

      You’re a minority…………so what? As if some so-called minorities don’t hate to hear the truth. Whites own no monopoly on running from the truth, so stow it.

      “I never hear Asians, Mexicans, Irish etc. complain about their representation as much as blacks.”

      Asians, Mexicans, do not complain of their representation? Oh, really, what country, or better yet, what universe do you live in:





      Mexicans/Native Americans:



      As for the Irish…..they have become “white” through race massacres (Chicago Race Riot of 1919 is the most well-known), so I wouldn’t consider them as having much to complain about. And when was the last time you heard “the big, dumb drunken Irishman (woman)” uttered in a film in recent history?

      “I mean geez stop CONSTANTLY acting like the whole world is out to get you, seriously.”

      The whole world is not out to get Black Americans…..just the close-minded people out there who would believe a stereotype against a Black person instead of the truth.

      “No doubt racism exists today…but it’s right in your own camp as well. Ever hear of Al Sharpton, Spike Lee, Obama’s buddy Rev. Wright?”

      So, Sharpton, Lee, Wright have denied jobs to qualified Whites, Blacks, Asians, etc.?They have sent jobs overseas and caused poor White communities to go into Depression-era decline? They have denied admission to colleges to qualified Blacks, Whites, and others? Al, Spike and the Rev. have created racist stereotypes and myths against whites? That’s news to me.

      “This article’s allegations are just ridiculous. Cinderella was a maid, snow white was poor….”

      No, this article’s essence is not ridiculous. This post pointed up the egregious mistakes Disney Studios made in creating this film, and how Disney Studios had to go back and cover their mistakes.

      Yes, Cinderella was a scullery maid, and Snow White was poor, and, so, your point is what…………….?

      Snow and Cindie did not cause the same type of grief that “Aladdin” caused Arab- Americans:


      And here are just a smorgasbord of racist stereotypes from the hallowed celluloid reels of Disney:


      So….you drop your ammo. Or better yet, drop that empty toy gun of yours.

      “again, it just seems that the black community makes something bad about everything.”

      The Black community does not have to “make something bad about everything”; much bad is still misrepresenting Blacks in the media, and Black people still have the right to see non-racist images of themselves on the screen.

      “I’m sure if this film didn’t have a black princess, there would be complaints about that too.”

      The film would not need a Black princess. Just less of the racist lies and myths that have abounded for centuries.

      “Shame on you.”

      No shame on you. It gets so tiring having to re-educate people every five minutes, but, some people like yourself obviously never get it and need daily edification.

      “You are part of the reason racism exists today, let it go. When you constantly search for ‘hidden’ meanings in anything, you’ll always find them.”

      No. I am not part of the reason racism exists today.

      Racism exists today from 500 centuries of hate, murder, genocide, slavery, degradation, greed and the mythical-fabled lies that America had been glutting itself on. Therefore, there is no need to search for “hidden meanings” in anything when those horrid messages are so blatantly in your face on a daily basis.

      You have not earned the right to demand that a Black person stop speaking the truth against racism. Racism is systemic and all the silence in the world will not make it go away.

      As for the “ammo” comments.


      I will not drop my ammo.

      Speaking truth to power is the only ammo that will continue to chip away at the monstrous legacy of racism.

      Therefore, I will not stop aiming my guns at any racist wrongs that occur in America, whether in real life, or reel life.

      Lock and load.

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