Disney’s First Black Princess Has a Wha…White! Latino? Prince

I can’t even figure it out myself. From Bossip.com late yesterday afternoon came word that Princess Tiana, heavily marketed as the first black Disney princess in their animated tale opening this winter, The Princess and The Frog, has a rather racially indeterminate prince.

Maybe you can figure it out, but I have a good idea that he’s just a Ken doll dipped in a vat of caramel-colored paint.  Tiana, though,  is cute.

Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen...Naveen??  Sounds like a jar of black hair creme.  Even 'Tyrone' would be ten times better.  (Courtesy: Bossip.com)

Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen...Naveen?? Sounds like a jar of black hair creme. Even 'Tyrone' would be ten times better.

The story line is pretty basic for anyone who hasn’t gone through kindergarten.

Although set in 1920s New Orleans it is an adaptation of the classic tale The Frog Prince.

In the Disney version, Prince Naveen is turned into a frog by a voodoo magician and asks Princess Tiana to kiss him to break the spell.

But she turns into a frog and the pair must reverse the spell, while in true fairy tale tradition, they fall in love.

Okay.

You would think that the guys over at the Mouse House and Pixar would be a bit more sophisticated by now. That they would have delivered on a black prince for the little girls (and even big girls) to moon over. Can’t they draw a handsome black man sans accent (Naveen has a Brazilian accent, so he’s thought to be a black Latino)? I mean, we have the equivalent of a black prince in the White House, so what is the big deal?

I remember when Brandy starred in Cinderella on ABC in 1997, with Whitney Houston playing the Celeste Holm/Fairy Godmother role, and Whoopi Goldberg and Victor Garber were playing the Queen and King, respectively. Imagine my surprise when the Prince turned out to be…a Filipino, Paolo Montalban. No diss on Paolo, but…

Can’t a black couple walk hand in hand into the sunset and the future? Does it always have to be a white guy, or a white-looking guy? I don’t mind a sista or a brotha getting their swerve on with others of the human race, but this is getting to be a habit–and an excuse–among filmmakers. They must have no idea how to depict black people in love with each other, and damn everyone else–including white people. This, I think, is the problem. So Disney shows we can expect no different from them. Walt Disney himself was such a reactionary that he was pretty happy with depicting and reissuing films with blacks wearing tattered clothes and singing zippy-dee-doo-dah down a Southern dirt road during the civil rights era, and having Mowgli from The Jungle Book complain that different species should stay separate from each other.

Naturally, the denizens at Bossip weren’t too pleased about this development (they gave Disney a big F-U) and the story got traction at Jack & Jill Politics and other oases in Blackblogistan. Said Sepia:

But let’s say Disney is gonna try to “pass” this character off as black, why not avoid all the drama and make the prince an identifiably black man? What? So brothas who look like brothas can’t be princes?

And I don’t think they were trying to make them look like PBO and FLOTUS because even though PBO is light, you know he’s black. Hell, he looks like Michael Evans from Good Times!

Disney gets the gas face for this mess.

AtlasBlack suggested:

Yes, I’m fully aware that people of the African Diaspora vary in complexion and hair texture. However, I think there’s something else at play here… this is supposedly Disney’s first animated feature with a black princess – an obviously black princess, if we’re taking strictly surface representation. I don’t think they were ready to go all the way and make the prince obviously dark as well. Baby steps I guess…

This has long been an issue in Hollywood flicks, and it’s funny that the same rule apparently applies even in cartoons! We can’t pair up 2 dark-skinned people in the same movie, because it might automatically alienate a certain group of the film’s potential audience – read, white people. So, just as we do with live action pictures, in order to guarantee rich box office returns, we’ll cast a black woman/man, with a white man/woman, in a love story.

How often do we get to see love stories on screen featuring 2 obviously black people in the starring roles?

This is Mama Odie, the good voudou priestess in The Princess and the Frog.  Oh, barrother...(Courtesy: Celebrity News and Gossip)

This is Mama Odie, the 'good' voudou priestess in "The Princess and the Frog" Oh, barrother...(Courtesy: Celebrity News and Gossip)

Baby steps…in 2009? The 21st century? Like I ask at times, what year and what century are we living in? Disney may be dead, but his backwards shade is still working through the accountants, PR, and artists running the studio. Nothing has really exploded on Disney…YET, but by the time December rolls around watch people get upset…bet on it.

And if Oprah Winfrey has anything to say about it, she had better rev up for damage control because girlfriend is in this potential bomb, too!

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~ by blksista on March 19, 2009.

138 Responses to “Disney’s First Black Princess Has a Wha…White! Latino? Prince”

  1. Why should it matter whether or not he’s black, white, asian, hispanic, etc? Don’t the majority of Disney movies teach some form of tolerance? That’s like saying Eric and Ariel shouldn’t have been together because she was born a mermaid. Really,this is 2010… we should be through with all this “don’t mix race” mess. She’s black, he’s Latin (or whatever)… get over it.

  2. I feel that yes, it is an issue that disney hasn’t brought an african american Princess in the pictue intill now, but maybe Prince Naveen is black and he’s just light.. i dont know. Me as a mixed (black/white) young adult can see the progress the world is making regardless. People need to wake up and realize that this is revolutionary. We have had Mulan, Jasmine, Pocahantas, Cinderella, Belle, Ariel, snow white, sleeping beauty..etc….and now Princess Tiana. so i think i speak for most when I say, its about time. But now that their is a black princess,why cant she be with a man of different race? It makes you just as pathetic as the people who waited so long to make a black Princess if you feel that she should only be with a black man. Look around you at this magnificent world people come in all different colors of the crayon box, so why not strech a little further…

  3. I amd between 15 to 25 years old, but that doesnt mean that i havent grown up, just because im not over 25. i have had plenty of life experience in my 23 years. and thats why i resent the things you say like grow up, because i have.

  4. Bare with me, but please read.I was about to take my nieghbor’s grand-daughters to see this & then I thought….what will they learn about love from this movie? Of course they will laugh at the antics of the firefly…didn’t people laugh at “Steppen Fetchit”? (love that name, hate the reason)…won’t they gain wisdom from an old woman whose only source of power is her magic & wisdom? And yes they will sing all of the wonderfully catchy songs that only Disney can create…and won’t they say light-skinned men are better than dark skinned men, even if they come from frogs? Yes…they will. We as women at a very early age are taught to accept “the beast”, “the pirate” and even “the frog” as our lovers. That is why despite the distinctive topic of skin color…I am more concerned about personalities and how young women see abusive or deceptively persuasive men as heroes. We revere the castles, because we have never had one. We sigh at the prospect of a kingdom, because we have never ruled one. We don’t even wear dresses, unless we are getting married. And as African-American woman, descendants of former slaves, we buy into the colorful fantasies of other cultures, not knowing who and where we came from. There is no such thing as a black princess who is not from Africa. There will never be a princess who comes from slavery. And there will never be a prince in love with a princess because they are in love. If they become a loving couple, it is rare….like a white diamond which can only be found in the blackest part of the earth. Excuse me but…Obama is not a prince…he is our President. So, no I will not be taking these young ladies to be sold on a continous Disney myth … so that one day they will end up like a cousin of mine who was murdered by her handsome husband…or abused like a relative by her father of another culture….another handsome man with an accent. If Disney is going to do it, then let them research reality and use real cultures and real accents and stop using the color of a picture & some strange accent to “invent” a race. Lesson #1: Remember…for the last fiftey years Disney only used the color black to depict evil or ignorance (that is why Mickey’s face had to be changed to a “white face”). Brown is in between & tan is close to the “good” color. Lesson #2: Mickey was originally an all black, tap dancing mouse who sang minstrel songs, while sailing on a river boat & Minnie was his woman. He had a mean white boss-man (they got rid of him), a hound dog and a black deck-hand / friend who was kinda “goofey” (Steppen Fetchit again). Don’t complain about black romantic characters….Disney has ALWAYS had a black couple in love (yes Mickey & Minney!), but they were poor working-class characters who evolved into middle-class characters! To be a royal is the ultimate fantasy in a capitalistic society. Rather… Complain about what our young girls are learning to be and how they are dealing with their fragile self-esteem issues. That’s why I boycott this film. Enough is enough.

  5. okay….how the hell old do you think i am? Thanks but I dont need pointers about life, like “dont retreat into fantasy”…but it seems you do. You should take a break from being such a cynic and take your own advice. And what i was saying about away we go was that i liked it and thought it was extremely insightful, not boring! I said it was realistic like a documentary. i too can critique and enjoy a film. In fact, there are many things i DID NOT enjoy about the princess and the frog, in particular.

    • You seem…young.

      Like between 15-25 years old.

      I, however, am not being cynical. I am being myself, as you certainly are.

  6. down i haven’t gotten a chance to read everyone’s comments, but i don know that i din’t like the movie as a whole.

    I felt the beginning was too adult and the middle was too childish and then the ending just felt hurried and my eight year told could have written something better.
    Now as for the guy being something other than blakc, i thought he was geechie not Italian, but that’s just me. didn’t care at the time i was watching the movie. i just didn’t like the storyline and i felt disney should have done a better job at tyring to reach an audience they have had difficulty in getting to.

    we hate half azz attempts and this was one of them.

  7. I agree, I enjoyed the “flick” away we go. However in no way did i think that it was at all “daring”. Why did you? Lemme guess….Because it featured a man with a biracial woman? Im sure thats the 1st thing you noticed! However the first thing i noticed was the unusual situation the couple was in and how the much love they showed each other throughout the twists and turns the plot contained. Actually, if you ask me this movie was less daring, but more like a documentary of the hard trails ANY couple faces during a daily basis. Anyway, back to the point- Just because the prince is not what you had in mind does NOT mean that The Princess and The Frog was in any way offensive or racsit to any one, at all…(Besides you). Im positive disney did not make this movie to offend, judge or upset anyone. Concerning your comment about snow white: Back in the 50’s as we all know disney was EXTREMELY racsist (it shows in their early films, but despite the fact most of their movies cotain racsist slurs they are now considered classics.)But the fact is, Disney has evolved since then, heck it took 80 years to do it, as you mentioned above…but WAHOO they did it! Oh and a word of advice:If someone doesnt like who i am, I would choose not to surround myself with their negative views – owning snow white when you dont like some of the racsist remarks that it contains, seems a bit unhealthy to me.
    ~Julianna

    Blksista- Have you ever seen “The Princess and The Frog”? If you havent maybe you should. You might like it:) You wouldnt have to admit it….you could even post a negative review about it, that nit picks through the whole movie for remarks that are “Just…not…right” and offensive subject matter. However, i think you will have trouble doing either….but what the heck, maybe you would have fun!

    • No, I heard about Away We Go just after Maya Rudolph left Saturday Night Live. I barely know who John Krasinski is, but with that name, sight unseen, I figured it was about a couple who happened to be interracial. Sorry to disappoint you.

      I find it interesting that you would find boring the kinds of obstacles Maya and John’s characters face. These are the kinds of things that you might have to face when you grow up. Don’t retreat into fantasy, Julianna. Learn something.

      I still think that I don’t want to see the Frog film until it goes into its second run, which will probably be around February or March.

      You seem to think that I am the only one who objects to The Princess and the Frog not having a black prince. I am not alone in this feeling, as evidenced by Village Voice critic Scott Foundas. I am just an easy and accessible target.

      Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is hardly racist, because it contains mostly white people in the cartoon. It does have a few SEXIST and AGEIST messages in the film that I now recognize that are dated. I feel the same way about Doris Day films of the early Sixties. Just because I don’t like the subtext to these films doesn’t diminish my liking them at all or my wanting to own them. They show me how far I have gone in my life. I can critique as well as enjoy a film, which is something you still have to learn how to do.

  8. look, i have nothing against you, i just think its alittle dumb to
    flip out about a kids movie. thats what bothers me.

    • Who’s flipping out? As much as I like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs–and I own it, too–there are some messages in that film that are just…not…right. IMHO.

      A film is not just a film.

      And then, as Freud said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

      I just want people to think clearly about their choices, and not run and fall all over Disney for what they have done. Okay, so they created a black princess. Whoopie doo dah. It doesn’t make them heroes eighty freaking years after they went into business. It makes them late for the train–and still covering their asses at the same time.

      And if you are biracial and are seeing yourselves in this film, let me say that Away We Go was more of a daring and wonderful flick than this piece of fluff, by far.

  9. Dude, making fun of someone’s name, is straight ignorant and doesn’t add to your argument. Disney is moving forward and doing a good job with just their second inter-racial couple (Pocahontas and hubby being the first) and their first black protagonist who is also a princess, and thus meant to be a role model for children everywhere.
    Outside of Disney there are countless films where black people aren’t even depicted as existing or are instead the side kick, in a pathetic attempt to not alienate black people. And if you watch them long enough you’ll realize that the black guy always dies.
    You seem to be attacking Disney but the issue isn’t in this movie. It’s in the media as a whole and in society. I can’t recall seeing a black night in shining armor who was truly prince worthy portrayed since Bill Cosby. This movie is a step forward and shows that Disney is KEEPING UP with the times. Most films haven’t gotten to this step yet. The only time “black love” as you called it is truly portrayed in the media it also involves an almost completely black cast. Maybe if these same (the mainly black ones) shows would take the initiative and have a multi cultural cast that includes good black couples, things could start to change (Girlfriends came the closest to doing that). Unfortunately, we know that’s probably not going to happen. So instead we’re going to have to wait for the primarily white media industry to do it while we wait, watch, and complain.

    • Excuse me, but I explained WHY I believed it was one of those made up names upwind. We’ve had some of our children named for candy bars as well as cars and hair care products, so please, I know exactly where I stand on that one.

      A cartoon as a role model? Just the black princess? Again, why not the black prince, too?

      I already know about blacks as sidekick meme. It goes for other people of color, too. If you can readily accept that, then why not accept the fact that Tiana’s father dies early and off-screen?

      The Mouse House is the problem because it is an integral part of the entertainment industry and it decided NOT to break ground and show a black prince. The marketing and money men tell the studios, “Make sure a white person is in the film so that you can attract whites to the film. You won’t get any play for any film if you have just black people.” They base this on previous studies and sales.

      Yet the Wachowski brothers made The Matrix trilogy and didn’t give a damn about depicting all blacks and people of color, with most whites being the baddies. I didn’t mind Keanu being The One, because to me, he was a person of color, and probably was a better actor in the role than Will Smith could have ever been.

      Also, there was a sleeper film in the Nineties called Eve’s Bayou that got more buzz not just because of Jurnee Smollett, its kid protagonist, but because these people were Creoles of all colors, not just light-skinned. Even Samuel F. Jackson was speaking Creole. I saw dozens of white people going to see this independent film in Orange County, California of all places, and some told me that they were going to see it twice. The movie house was packed. You cannot tell me that many whites aren’t interested in seeing black films or other films with majority blacks or people of color.

      Yet this is what the marketing people tell Disney and the rest of these cowardly film studios. And they listen to their bottom line rather than to what could be real and possible. Okay, one black princess, but make sure that the prince doesn’t look black or is not quite black or coming from a black or African country. “Maldonia,” sheesh!

      BTW, I liked Girlfriends and I was sorry to see it gone from the line-up.

  10. I’m sorry. Above I meant to say that Prince Naveen is only a shade lighter than Tiana.

  11. I just came back from watching the movie and I LOVED it. Watched it with my 6 yr old daughter. Maybe it’s just me, but I saw the movie before this page and Prince Naveen is the same color as myself and my child, and Tiana is darker, so NOTHING about him made me see him as “white.” i see no one said anything about them all having Hazel eyes. LOL

    I’ve read reviews and complaints about the movie prior to seeing it, and now that I’ve seen it it just makes me think “you can never make everybody happy.” My daughter has a little black princess that she can talk about, and he father is already a King, so Wth?

    We all know that racism exists, but who is it that sees it in EVERYTHING? I haven’t read ONE review about a KID asking, “why isn’t the Prince black?” It’s always the adults. We dissect EVERYTHING instead of enjoying it for the fluff that it is. It’s is a very nice Fluffy story. I haven’t heard ONE white person complain about the fact that in just about every fairy tale story, the bad guy is some evil old white woman. Hansel and Gretel, Snow white, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella. Old white cannibal, and evil step mothers that try to kill their kids. Noooo, but WE feel the need to complain about a Prince with a name that is NOT Tyrone and an accent. BTW, Bruno Campo sounded COMPLETELY different than he did when he played in Nip/Tuck, sooo… LOL.

    Oh, and Prince Naveen is WAAAAY darker in the movie than he is in this picture. In the movie he is a shade darker than Tiana. And he’s DARKER than the Shadowman (Voodoo dude.)

    • Sounds to me YOUR racist! I was reading some of the other comments and you said, quote “I have nieces and nephews who are part-black and Latino, and part-white and black. I consider both family…and black.” this comment is disturbing to me, because you chose to ignore the other 1/2 of their genetic makeup, just because they look black thats what you labeled them. You obviously don;t want a family member of yours to be considered white. What if I was white and my father was black, but i only looked tan. would you except me??? its sad that you think that ALL white people are racist against other nationalities, when the truth is that…they arent. Do you really think Disney felt that they couldn’t portray a African American couple together, because it would be bad for business? Blksista, your are mistaken. Obviously racism is still in the usa today, you are living proof.

      • I don’t ignore their other half, just like I don’t ignore their mothers. That’s what the word family means. And if whites or Latinos don’t acknowledge them, they are still black to me regardless of the fact that their mothers were not black. That means that they are welcome and accepted and they have somewhere to connect and to belong.

        There were many blacks who dogged Nicole Brown Simpson for being a golddigger and said that she got what she deserved. On the contrary, I felt that Nicole wanted to have those kids with O.J., she gave birth to them, she took care of them, and that she was being done a raw deal.

        I do believe that this is Disney’s marketing and advertising technique; it’s been tried and true before and other critics have remarked on this.

        Julianna, you need to cool your jets before you criticize. You don’t understand what I am talking about.

  12. First of all asking for a depiction of “obviously black people” in the movies is not only stereotypical but also sad. I would really like the author of this blog to define what “obviously black people” look like and then state a claim that they are an accurate depiction of the African diaspora. Part of the beauty of being apart of the African Diaspora is the many aspects of diversity that it brings. Not all black people are brown skin with kinky hair and I don’t that its fair that the media continue to depict them having these attributes. In direct reference to the movie, Tiana’s father was a is what I think the author is alluding to be an “obviously black” male. He was a strong and positive role model in the movie. Just because Prince Naveen had an accent, was lighter skinned, and had wavy hair does not make him any less of a black character in the movie. At the end of the day we could pick The Princess and the Frog apart and go on for days about the subliminal racism and stereotyping in the movie; It is Disney who made it after all.

    • You know what? When whites predominate in films, no one is saying that they’re being stereotypical. It’s considered normal. Same thing with Spanish-speaking or Francophone nations. Of course, at times, even they manage to denigrate Native Americans and darker-skinned peoples in certain works, as with the film, Like Water for Chocolate.

      But when people like myself want to see a prince with obvious cultural as well as color connections to African Americans, this is automatically considered backward or stereotypical. I ask you to check out the dichotomy here.

      I also said before that the relationship between Tiana’s parents, while good on the surface, cannot be a substitute or a “consolation prize.” Besides, her father dies off-stage, so we don’t know anything else about him except through Tiana’s actions.

      I am perfectly cognizant that blackness comes in many shades and in as many expressions. But when people Google up what country is Maldonia, and whether Prince Naveen is really black, I can only surmise they’re wanting some kind of proof, some kind of connection. They want to know whether their eyes are lying to them. And when they find out that Maldonia is a fake country, just like the name Naveen is only understandable in India, it’s a bit of a let down. Why would I think that? I know how people come to this blog; I know what search words they are using. To me, this is the truly sad part.

      Yes, it is Disney’s film, and yes, people are going to see it regardless of what I say. But you and yours have no idea about Disney’s history as a cultural manufacturer and corporate entity, and I suggest that you do yourselves a favor and read about it first before prostrating yourselves so easily before its altar as some kind of savior and multicultural hero.

  13. I am a black woman, and I thought this was a damn fine piece of sugary Disney fluff. The moment you start to dictate what relationships should look like, you move into very dangerous territory. I realize that you (and we all) long for a depiction of a strong black family man with a life and character outside of babymama issues and rollin’, but it didn’t happen for this film, and that’s okay. The Princess and the Frog is a piece of artwork, designed to entertain, and it has thus far been wildly successful t that. There will be more black heroes and heroines in the Disney canon in short order, I have no doubt. Let the mixed kids feel accepted for once in their freaking lives, and just sit back and watch as Tiana gowns show up in the Disney Store, and the Princess lineup gets a little bit closer to the rainbow. I refuse to be subject to disappointment and anger when I can have hope and pride instead.

    • Who am I to “dictate”? I wanted to see a black prince with a black princess. I’m just wondering whether Disney are going to do as you say, create more black couples in live action or cartoon. I’m not holding my breath.

  14. will do:)

  15. well im sorry that you feel that i am too young. I just didnt understand your point i guess. And if I offended you please forgive me.

  16. Blksista i understand what you are saying and i do agree, people do treat darker latinos differently than lighter latinos. Most people label you by the color of your skin, and this is what upsets me…Im sorry if i offended anyone in anyway.

    • Thanks for being real, and allowing me to explain myself. Come back and respond again to my posts.

      I may be old, but I am not that old… ;D

  17. actually some of this stuff is offensive. just cuz somebody is mixed they are not considered a “brotha” or “sista” some people are white and have one black parent….would you disapprove?

    • Again, I have nieces and nephews who are part-black and Latino, and part-white and black. I consider both family…and black.

      Tiger Woods didn’t consider himself black, despite his looks, and now, in his worst moment, I don’t see the Cablinasian community sticking up for him. All that bobbing and weaving about who he was never got him anywhere. They’re now saying that he took performance enhancing drugs in order for him to get those wonderful trophies and awards. I doubt whether Tiger did this, but again, I don’t see very many people sticking up for him, but trying very hard to tear him down because they see him as black for cheating on his wife. Yes, there is such a thing as “black behavior.”

      And you’re so offensive because you’re young. Way too young. One of these days, you get an idea of exactly what I mean.

  18. oh and im not trying to be mean…im just wonder why you choose not to support the film? all im trying to say is that everyone is a mix of different ethnicities and i thought that the people of america were over this…i hope that when i have children that they, whatever their ethnicity will be able to enjoy such films and not be sooooo critical.

    • Everyone may be a mix of ethnicities, but if you are a dark-skinned Latino, you are treated quite differently if you were a light-skinned Latino.

      Even Sammy Sosa knows this, which is why he changed his skin color.

      You may be five ethnicities and still, people will treat you differently if you are dark-skinned. And don’t say it doesn’t happen, because it does.

  19. the prince is latino…. so what? it just shows kids that its okay, to like anyone you want….(and there are black latinos) besides why does it matter? i just took my Brazilian/American neice to see this movie and she loved it. i mean…i dont know, if the prince had been black it would have given the impression that black people only date black people or white people only date white people etc. i think its important to show kids its okay to love anyone….

    • I also think that it is okay for dark-skinned children to find that other dark-skinned people can love them as well. Asking for this is not limiting oneself or segregating oneself.

  20. As a mixed kid, I’m totally offended by your post. What the hell is wrong with black people living happily ever with white people? whites and asians? latinos and blacks? etc. You say “you don’t want to diss Paolo”, you say you don’t have a problem with your ‘sistas and brothas’ trying the whole inter-racial dating thing, but you clearly do. This is why racism still exists in the USA, because apparently ‘kind is only allowed to date kind’… You know Obama’s a mixed kid too, but clearly everyone has a problem realizing that. Seriously, be progressive, and actually move past the superficial.

    • As a mixed kid, I’m totally offended by your post. What the hell is wrong with black people living happily ever with white people? whites and asians? latinos and blacks? etc.

      Nothing at all. Film being a cultural dynamic, as well as a “teaching” element, I expected the Brandy Cinderella to go off with a black or mixed black prince in 1997. Instead, she went off with a Filipino prince, which looks ludicrous since Whoopi and Garber were white and black.

      What you do not know is that other film critics have noticed this as a trend in films involving black women in the primary roles. I and other critics also notice that black male actors don’t have as much access to prominent white women actors in films, conversely. Latina women, perhaps. And one or two Asian women.

      When people like you suggest, erroneously, that I have a personal problem about interracing, you couldn’t be far wrong. I have mixed nieces and nephews. And I date interracially as well. The thing is I want to see this trend in films BUCKED. It’s nothing at all personal on interracial relationships. I would like to see black men and black women going into the future together as well as interracial couples. The fact is, this hardly happens in American films–if at all. You’re too young to know how and why this happened.

      When black people saw The Matrix Trilogy, they saw not only Neo and Trinity, but Morpheus and Niobe and Lock; and Link and Zee. You probably don’t know too, that the Neo character was not originally thought of for Keanu Reeves, who is multiracial, but Will Smith. The Matrix was essentially the depiction of a black and multiracial revolution, in which a black man would free the earth. Instead, it was Keanu.

      In contrast, I don’t see The Princess and the Frog breaking very many barriers as you may think.

      Black women will love those whoever will love them, and that includes black men as well. So plesae, people, save it. Your impressions are false. If I turn over in bed some days to see my sleeping, pale-skinned, brown-haired friend, should I mark him off points because he’s awake before I am?

      I also suggest that you all go beyond this post and read my other work on this blog.

  21. I feel I have to add my two cents. I stumbled upon this blog looking for a picture of Tiana in her swamp dress and ended up reading your article instead. I respectfully, but strongly disagree with you. Completely.
    I hadn’t even thought about Prince Neveen’s race being an issue until I’d read this article, I was just thrilled at how gorgeous Tiana had been designed.
    Why is this SUCH an issue? I simply don’t understand… Tiana’s parents are both black, the good voodoo Priestess is black, the bad voodoo Doctor is black, Tiana is black… As someone else had said here, if Naveen had been as black as Tiana as well, the movie would have felt almost like segregation and would have been just, if not more, controversial! Disney simply could not win, what ever way they did this!

    Personally, I think that the theme of celebrating diversity is far more important to me than just having a black Prince. I think it’s simply beautiful, having such a multicultural cast and a bi-racial romance! They show a loving black relationship in Tiana’s parents and a loving bi-racial relationship in Tiana and Neveen. In my ideal world, none of this would matter one bit! I don’t understand why you’re trying to make it into something so negative… :(

    Anyway, you seem completely set in your ways and, after reading some of the superb and articulate comments here, I doubt my little post is going to change your mind at all… One thing I would say, is that you should definitely watch the movie before judging it and the motives of it’s creators so severely.
    Also, you need to stop telling people that disagree with you that they “don’t know a thing” and talking to them like they’re stupid. I know you feel passionately about this, but really… being so rude and confrontational to anyone that has a different opinion won’t make them see it your way, it will just make them think you’re arrogant and self-absorbed.

    • I am not completely set in my ways, which I believe is an ageist remark. But I am quite frustrated about making myself clear. As I have said before in responding to some of these comments, I have biracial nieces and nephews, I have and probably will continue to date non-black men, but in this situation, and this situation only, I would have liked to have seen A BLACK PRINCE. The hell regarding Mama Odie or Dr. Facilier. Or her father and mother. I’m not into what are called “consolation prizes.” I would have liked to have seen a black prince with a black princess, period. There is absolutely nothing wrong with holding to this view, no matter whether I have seen the film or not, and with thinking that certain claims that respondents make are specious and have no basis in fact, like the person claiming that Naveen’s mother, who I know is not shown in the film, is wearing a sari at home. People are tripping…

      Because I choose to dissent from people falling worshipfully all over Disney, a corporate entity that has no “feelings” for its customers, people who have no idea or knowledge whatsoever about its past and present as filmmakers and moneymakers, I am called backward or set in my ways, as you claim. You’re only the latest to spew what I feel are highhanded personal attacks. I have shown how Disney chose to ignore black and African history and culture to create a character that is racially indeterminate in order to market it to whites who would pick up the audience slack. I have said that Disney flattens history, when I and my grandparents hail from New Orleans. I do have a reason to be highly critical and contemptuous of people who know next to nothing about how I came to a decision not to support the film, and who seem manipulated and uninformed. I am only one woman with a blog, you and other commenters would have it that I could shut down the film and spoil people’s fun. Please. There were other blog critics who did not like a non-black prince either. Furthermore, my opposition is not based on being anti-white, or against the idea of a multiracial community. Fact is, I am for a multiracial community, but not at the expense of black people or any other darker-skinned peoples, or against history and against culture.

      Many of the respondents have limited themselves to replying about this one post on my blog. There are other posts on this blog that would show that I do not have problems with biracials, youth, gays, or other peoples of color, etc. And yet here, I’m the narrow-minded one. This is what is dismaying and frustrating about this entire exchange. People want to change my mind. I am not to be moved on this issue. It is not about segregating or limiting oneself. It’s about affirming oneself. That is something that Disney cannot do for any of you, really.

      Why is that sooooooooo many people don’t want to see this? Why is black love NOT beautiful? Or normative? Or something to strive for? Or seen in a negative light?

  22. the prince is suppose to be french creole. which would make sense in louisiana.

    • The prince is from an idiotic place named Maldonia. He’s not French Creole, unless he came from a Francophone country like Haiti or Martinique.

      I know that there are places in India where there are Indians with Portuguese, French and British surnames. They also speak a kind of French or Portuguese brought down through the centuries. That’s because these European powers developed spheres of colonial influence in the subcontinent. They left evidence of their interracial relationships there.

      But if Disney wanted to locate the prince in the land of Bollywood, then they should have put him there with something recognizable that even Asians could not even mistake.

  23. I’m sorry blksista,butI just can’t agree with you. You keep complaining about Prince Naveen not being black, but there really isn’t anything you can do about it so your tirade is pointless. You assume that diney isn’t showing a bw-bm relationship that works when in fact Tiana’s mother and father are a perfect example of one. You haven’t seen the movie so please don’t judge it. It was whining people like you that caused Disney to change the storyline simply bcoz there were overly sensitive folks. Disney wasn’t trying to offend anybody when it made this movie. it is the silly people who take it too seriously that weep about little things. If you want a black prince, go make yourown movie. Meanwhile, I’m off to the cinema to watch this wonderful new film.

    • Tiana’s father dies in this film, as I understand, before she comes to adulthood, possibly as a soldier in WW1; so black males are essentially absent here. It “looks” like a healthy relationship between her mother and father, but he is sanitized out. His ideals, however, do remain with his daughter, but nothing that tells of relationships.

      And as I said before in a previous post, Naveen might have been put out of the country in real life for considering marriage with Tiana in the 1930s, and Tiana might have been denied a passport to join her husband for “race-mixing.”

      Excuse me for nitpicking, but I thought having a black prince would have been important for little children to see. Better that than the same negative images of black men and boys that pervade the media. And Disney wasn’t trying to offend as much as to make money. That’s number one in their book. They’re trying to bring in whites as well as blacks by having a white-looking lead in the cartoon.

      I find it interesting how people credit Disney with so much, as if a corporation or a business “cares” about its customers as a human being would its children. Ummm…honey. You don’t know. You don’t know a thing at all. Not one thing.

  24. Those who rejoice over Disney’s introduction to an African American princess, should also rejoice over their introduction to a couple of diverse backgrouns/mixed race couple – whatever you want to call it. It is beautiful and refreshing to see “race” ignored and a couple find love in each other. This movie could serve as an example to children of all backgrounds that love can be found in anyone – regardless of race/nationality. I love it.

    • Actually, it’s color, not race. We’re all part of one race, but we are different colors.

      It’s Disney who has created this world you speak of where race was ignored. In real life, in the 1930s, this kind of interracial relationship would have made headlines. The prince might have been kicked out of the country. Tiana might not have been allowed a passport to leave, either. This is how Disney flattens and erases history so that little children believe in mythology, and not in ideals and what is possible in real life.

  25. Realistically, there aren’t many black princes “men” available for black women. It’s a reality and interracial dating isn’t going anywhere, no woman or man should have to lower their personal standards in what the want in a mate or base everything on the complexion of their mate.

    • So…you’ve given up?

      An ideal or a model is something one should strive for. I don’t suggest that black men should be for black women only. I’m saying that the idea of a black prince or the depiction of black love is something to strive for and to see in our lifetimes.

      • Wouldn’t it have looked condescending, though, if Disney had made a movie that had an African-American prince and an African-American princess in it, though? Kind of like, “Okay, here’s your movie. Stop complaining that there aren’t any black people in Disney films now.”

        You ask for a normative portrayal of black people in Disney films, but if it were an African-American prince and princess starring in this film, then wouldn’t it seem more segregationalist? Like, keep the white people in the white-people-movies, and the black people in the black-people-movies?

        I think Disney was going to end up drawing criticism no matter what they planned for Tiana. A black princess and a black prince, then you draw, “What, is this supposed to be some sort of atonement for not having African-Americans in your classic films for fifty-plus years?”. A black princess and a white prince, then you end up insinuating that black men can’t be heroes.

        Disney freaked out and ran to the ambiguous middle ground with “Naveen”. Yes, they’ll draw criticism, but I’m really not sure that there’s a situation that wouldn’t have drawn criticism.

        Yes, there needs to be a healthy, normative portrayal of black couples in film. I’m not sure that Disney’s first stab at introducing African-American characters is a good venue for it. I really hope that they DO bring in more black (and latina!) princesses in the future, though, and I’ll bet that in the future, they’ll be able to find a black prince for the princess without it looking like they’re just pandering.

        • Why is it condescending to expect a black prince for a black princess?

          When I see movies with George Clooney or Harrison Ford in them, they normally have white female leads. It’s something I would expect, and something the rest of the audience does as well. I don’t think that is condescending nor segregationist on my part. It’s what is offered to us. I don’t like what they are offering as reflective of American life, and also in this case, American history and culture. I don’t have anything to do with what they sell to us as entertainment or information. I am merely critical of the fact that Disney wimped out on a black prince for Princess Tiana because they were afraid of offending and scaring off the white audience who would think that a black prince means that the film was only for African Americans.

          I suggest you talk to the studios, or Clooney or Ford, or the producers and directors about how they segregate according to audience’s taste, appeal, and fears.

          • I really think you’re misestimating Disney’s motives, though. I don’t think they realized (and as a white person, I didn’t realize… and chances are pretty good that a lot of the folks at the mouse house are white people, too, unfortunately… need more diversity in Hollywood) that black people would be offended if there wasn’t a black prince.

            I know I thought that black people would be offended if Disney made a “movie for black people”… which would be just as wrong as if they overtly made a “movie for white people.” I really think that this is just a misguided case of the golden rule. What’s PC to one community doesn’t necessarily carry as being inoffensive to another.

            I think you’re incorrect when you say that they did what they did because they were afraid of offending and scaring off the white audience. It boggles my mind to think of anything other than “Disney is for everybody,” kind of like how it really boggled my mind that the African-American population, by and large, doesn’t visit national parks… I really have this idea that “national parks are for everybody.” I think most white people, myself included, are truly naive in a lot of their thoughts on what is and what isn’t offensive to the African-American population in this country. My brain just doesn’t process the notion that Disney isn’t all-inclusive… which is stupid of me. More on that later.

            I don’t think their motives were sinister. It really, truly didn’t cross my mind that not having a black prince for a black princess would be offensive to African-Americans… That’s my failing, I know. It’s also Disney’s failing, and it’s particularly their failing because they ought to have had focus groups to test these ideas… I don’t personally send out focus groups on race issues. If I were Disney, and I were accused of wimping out on Naveen because I was afraid of offending white people, though, I’d be incredibly confused because the idea doesn’t even cross my mind.

            Why, as a white person, would having a black princess and a black prince mean that a movie was not for my demographic, not for me, any more than having a black princess and an ambiguously-raced prince? Disney’s for everybody. I didn’t understand that this wasn’t the case until I thought about it and realized that if I were African-American, I’d be upset by the fact that there were no princesses that look like *me*. In that misunderstanding, I certainly didn’t mean anything sinister by it. In fact, I feel pretty awful now that I’ve come to that realization and have figured out that people felt left out of these Disney movies that I’ve cherished this whole time. It’s like the pit you get in your stomach, realizing that one of your guests didn’t get a piece of birthday cake at your birthday party.

            I think white people are trying to do better. I think we do an awful job at it… I do think that far more white people care about the African-American community than the African-American community thinks, though. There are a lot of white people out here who are genuinely trying to do good, though, however misguided they may be.

            I think Disney is just misguided in this one, and not malicious. I know I wasn’t trying to be malicious.

  26. so one thing i have noticed in this blog is the fact that no one has mentioned how Disney are a bunch of crooks! “Princess Tiana” is NOT the “first african-american princess”, “Princess Brianna” is. Author Yaba Baker wrote the book Princess Brianna in 2003, author (my husband) Javier Gonzalez created the character. This was a best seller’s children’s book. As for Disney’s “research dept” being well-known for being very thorough when it comes to researching the subjects of their films, yeah they contacted Yaba Baker for a copy of the book and other materials and said they would call back if they were going to use any materials… yeah no call and all of a sudden now 6 years later, there emerges, “The First Black Princess”! Disney even admits asking and receiving the material from Yaba, but state they “did not read or look at it”! haha ok! Forget about trying to sue such a big corporation, the little guy never wins, but if we can spread the word and BOYCOTT the movie, at least we can show support to those who really are responsible for the “first black princess” Author Yaba Baker and Illustrator Javier C. Gonzalez III. Did I mention that my husband use to work for DIsney, so yeah my husband was pissed when i showed him princess tiana. He said it best, “whatever the mouse wants, the mouse will get” Take a look at Yaba Bakers site outlining the timeline of events at http://justlikemebooks.sortekinc.com/?p=3

  27. I think its sad that in 2009, Disney still refuses to portray a brother with royalty status. Out of all the black actors in Bollywood, they couldn’t find ONE! They had to go half way around the world to get a pink man to play a cartoon character that is portrayed with dark skin…and what’s that about. I swear i feel like I could just boycot the entire movie if it wasn’t for the other Blacks in the movie. Highly disgusted!

  28. I don’t understand what the big deal is. I didn’t think he looked white at first – I assumed him to be half black. Then again, the only images I got of Prince Naveen were in commercials, and in commercials, you don’t really get a long glance… I don’t think they’re trying to state that two black people can’t be in love – I think they’re trying to state that you don’t have to be in the same race to love someone. It’s usually because you see two black people dating and two white people dating – or at least, I do. Meh. Whatever. I swear Disney wasn’t trying to do anything racist like that.

    • The thing is that that rather than deal with black people, Disney made Tiana’s prince indeterminately-raced. We do know that he isn’t white, but what is he? A cablinasian? We know where that got certain people.

      I’m not checking this film until it’s on DVD.

      Three quarters of the time, Tiana’s a frog. Riiiiiight.

  29. no…. he has a french accent. but yea, his race is hard to tell on what he is. at first i thought he was black, but light skin, but then later i thought he could be hispanic, AND NOW i’m thinking he could be mix. idk, his race is confuing. i thought that we’re gonna get a black prince.. well atleast we have a disney african-american princess *nods*

  30. One thing I noticed about the Brandi Cinderella movie is that all the evil characters where white and and all the good characters were black or another race. Don’t really know what to say about that but it’s sure is strange.

    • I didn’t like the Brandi Cinderella film either. And the stepsisters, I believe, were all white.

  31. Honestly, I think it’s really progressive of Disney to portray a multi-racial couple in one of their movies. I think it’s important that in the first Disney movie with an African-American princess, kids who make the assumption that she’d be paired with a prince within her race are proved wrong (or at least are caused to question themselves … I can’t tell what goddamn race that guy is, but it’s not black).

    • Soooo…we have to wait nearly 80 years for Disney to confirm that it’s okay to admire a black princess?

      Plus Tiana isn’t a princess for long. For most of the film, she’s a frog. Isn’t that how some whites view black people? Interesting.

      I think that it is normative to show a black prince with a black princess. Doesn’t mean that I don’t think biracial couplings aren’t.

  32. I think they already had pre-screening back in the animation stages with certain well-known black leaders (I don’t know the details) to get their input on anything that may have passed by the white privilege radar. At least they are genuinely interested in making sure it doesn’t come off as blatantly racist. I think it’s good news that the mostly black cast seems very proud of their work in the movie.

    There’ll probably be things in the finished film that will trigger some eye-rolling, but in general it won’t be any more silly than your average Disney princess movie.

    It *is* funny you mention this though, because the other two “technically” black princesses – Kida (from Atlantis, that Disney movie everyone forgot about) and Aida (Nubian princess from a Disney-produced stage musical) both hooked up with white guys, lol. Hopefully Disney can pass this landmark with the first black princess, and start featuring more black characters from different parts of the world in the future. And yes, black love interests too!

    • I doubt it.

      BTW, a lot of people are checking onto this website with no inkling whatsoever about what I feel about interracing. For the record once again: I have no problems with it. I have biracial nieces and nephews. I have dated white guys. But in this small case, I would have preferred to see a black prince rather than a slightly tanned prince of no determinate color or culture. Just saying this makes me into a racist? No, stupids. That’s why I say no one has taken the time to read the article, or read my previous comments carefully.

  33. What has caused this bitterness to devour you sister?

    • “Bitterness”? “Devour”?

      Save it. You haven’t read any other blog articles have you?

  34. So Ive read through all of the comments above and I have a few things to say:

    1. BLksista- I can see where you are coming from but I have to say that I agree with everyone else more. I believe that the target audience for this movie is children PERIOD! I thnk the goal is to celebrate the diversity that exists in America and create a movie where all kids can relate…allowing those of color to find themselves in a charactar and those who are not of color to see that there are other cultures and skin tones and ethnicities out there.

    2. I think we should consider that maybe the prince is creole, which means he could be a mix of black, african, native american or french…who just might have spent some time in Brazil groing up.

    3. While I think everyones points are valid we have to be careful not to be so forceful and general with our statements that we come off as narrow minded and uninformed.

    4. As a person with a mixed race background (Black, White, Creole, Native American) I can honestly say I find joy in finally seeing a couple that looks my house did growing up. If I was a child I would happy to finally see someone that looks a little like me. It is very hard growing up when everything is either black, white, asian, or spanish and nothing quite looks like you.

    5. While I agree that it is extremely important that little black boys and girls see love between a black prince and princess I think that its more important for them to see that love in real life between their mothers and fathers no matter what their background. My parents had a wonderful loving relationship that I was fortunate enought to witness growing up that influenced me more than any Disney movie ever could have. Now as a grown woman I look to be treated like a princess regardless of the color of the prince.

    6. As a teacher of a diverse group of kindergarten age children I know that they generally dont pay attention to skin color or accents or ethnicity. Its not that they dont notice, its simply that they dont care. They are more concerned with whether the kid next to them is going to share their toy. It is usually us adults that perpetuate the racism and concern for differnces in society. Any descension I have withnessed among children in regards to skin color or cultural differences has been set in motion by poor examples set by adults.

    7. I think the real question is what are we as adults going to do to change the situation so this discussion isn’t even neccesary 20 years from now?

  35. the story is about things that every person deals with, not just black children. So I think it is great, but I don’t think people should turn it into the black princess movie, because it tells a story that has nothing to do with her being black. Check out these interviews we did on the red carpet at the premier… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lOZEhh-luE

    • thank you so much! finally someone with some perspective!

    • Finkley–if that is your name–I don’t mind you posting under your own name and representing your own thoughts, but when you shill for Disney, you are being disingenuous.

      • blksista – i don’t ‘shill’ for Disney. I am not being disingenuous, I work for BlackTree TV which is my company we cover all of Hollywood entertainment, not just Disney. I added a video with the perspectives from the cast, this is a video that i own, when you remove that video, you and this page are the ones being disingenuous. And my name is Jamaal Finkley, you can google it. My perspective is a lot better than people who are assuming, because i am working press, I screened the movie twice. If my opinion and videos are not welcome on this site, i will visit another blog. Thank you.

        • You listed that you had a video for people to see, not once but TWICE. Then you pushed the video onto my website. That was it. I have a lot of people trying to push their products onto this blog. I cut out the video AND your business alter-ego because I did not want this to turn into yet another product push. I still say that you are pushing for Disney by doing just that. Your opinions were welcomed under your own name.

  36. “They must have no idea how to depict black people in love with each other”

    I think it was poet Sonia Sanchez who noted that depicting Black love is radical. It seems that it’s very difficult for us to handle. How long has it been since, Nothing But a Man and Love Jones?

  37. It would be one thing if our people were portraying THEMSELVES with any respect but for the most part they do not. It embarasses me to see what our people aspire to and what our youth idolizes in these idiotic and barbaric rappers. I feel like healthy black woman/ black man relationships are not the norm because most of the time, statistically anyway they do not pan out. I don’t feel like we should complain about Disney’s depiction or lack of when our own depiction of our culture is that of utter direguard for morals and the law. We idolize and uplift the negative aspects of our race and until we stop doing that we should not expect other races to do any different.

  38. there r many different colors to black race. I have seen a white looking black person but i have never seen vise versa… i think disney is just showing people the many different colors in the black race.

  39. Wow. Youre really disturbed, aren’t you?
    To get so mad over a possible (OMGNO) Interracial couple?
    Get over yourself, and fast.

    Heres the bottom line:
    INTERRACIAL COUPLES ARE OKAY.
    In fact, they can be healthy. THeyre just like any other relationship. COLOR should not matter, but being the kind of person you are, it clearly matters.. which is really really sad.

    Pathetic, even.

    Its not about color, or showing ANY of the BULLSHIT youve rambled on in your horrible little blod.

    Disney is making a love story.

    And if you cant accept the COLOR of a persons skin, then YOU are the one with ISSUES.
    Not DIsney.
    And I’m saying this as a black woman, who i’m SURE is older and wiser than you, hunny.

    If youre what a “true” black woman is, then God I’m glad I’m not like you.

    Get over it.
    Love comes in all shapes, sizes, and COLORS.
    Welcome to America.

    • What a dip you are.

      Don’t impress me that you’ve read anything from the article or my comments.

      Don’t embarrass yourself further by showing up here again.

  40. Well, I think it’s like this. Unless she married a prince, Tiana would fall into the same fate as Mulan and Alice, being a Disney “heroine”. As there are no prices in 1920s America, they couldn’t do anything along those lines. However, if they used an Afircan prince…let’s just say I doubt they’d use an Afircan prince. So they just said “to Hell with it, let’s just get Oprah” and made him South American.

    • There were more princes in the 1920s than there are today.

      Look at earlier posts I have written. They could have used a prince from Ethiopia, or from the deposed royal family of Madagascar, or from the deposed imperial family of Haiti.

      Disney could have had this prince say, oh well, one of these days, when my family is back on the throne…and so forth.

      It would have been quite a history lesson.

      • that’s it. i’m writing to disney to tell them they should go with the original storyline in which EVERYONE was white. then you can stop complaining.

  41. But she’s gorgeous though! :)

  42. I see no problem with there being 2 characters of the same race being together in a Disney film. I see people of the same race and bi-racial couples everywhere else, on every other channel. So why is it that it is such a big deal for Disney? For this film? All of this is just gearing toward one thing. Pretty soon you won’t be seeing disney films like, “Cinderella.” It will be, “A tale of 2 princes, true love at last.” We are all being geared up to see homosexual couples on a regular basis on what once was, “kid friendly,” channels.

  43. I know I’m late to this discussion, as it concluded in early July and it is now late August, still… I would recommend seeing _Mickey Mouse Monopoly_ It’s a very interesting documentary about the secretive and controlling corporate culture at Disney, and the pernicious effect on children’s minds the real values it represents has. It really made me think twice about exposing my child to its products. It’s all about the money. Period.

    You, Blksista, asked the question repeatedly “why not a black prince for a black princess” and you yourself answered the question. It would risk reducing the audience for its film. You know as well as I that white folks in the USA are not in the habit of seeing films IN THEATERS with 2 black leads. They may, and I repeat MAY, rent a DVD, but they won’t go to the theater and I seriously and sit in an audience watching a story about black folks. I seriously doubt that Disney would ever make a movie that was aimed primarily at a black audience –simply not enough money at the box office to be “worth” it, not to mention that it would symbolize a completed reversal of its long-standing disregard for black culture.

    The fact is Disney responded to criticism that in it’s 50+ year history it has NEVER had a black princess (and the entire line of princess sh*t that is the true money-maker, is also basically all white). That’s all Disney was interested in depicting -a black princess (and, more importantly, marketing all the princess gear that will go with Tiana). The black prince will have to wait another 50 years, if he ever gets a go at a Disney movie. I’m not sure how much princes sell at the local Toys R Us.

    As you can see from some of the posted comments, white people aren’t bothered by this, so they will go to the movie, take their kids –and that’s all Disney cares about. Black folks will buy Tiana stuff for their daughters come Christmas (you KNOW they will) despite the sad fact that Disney doesn’t give an f*ck about black folks and never has. One princess, decades late, doesn’t change that.

    Sadly, I think you’re prediction won’t be the reality. Disney WILL get the box office for this film because all the white folks that will take their kids to see it will “feel good” about going to a movie with a black princess in it. They’ll think that they are doing the right thing and teaching their children tolerance and acceptance.

  44. Disney probably wanted to incorporate more than one race. Princess Tiana is gorgeous so I don’t see why everyone is freaking out that the Prince is Latino. Do you have something against there being a Latino prince?

  45. Race shouldn’t matter. Its the love connection. So can people stop complaning that the prince is not your idea of “black”

  46. Hi, out of the comments above I agree with Nessie-chan’s the most. Plus I’m black and I look more like Naveen than Tiana. So I like the way he looks, not all blacks are brown. There are even black people who can pass for white, but don’t like actress Fredi Washington. She was asked many times by studio execs. to pass herself as a white actress and she refused You can see a pic of her here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fredi_Washington . Washington had trouble in hollywood since she wouldn’t pass as white, but even her own race wasn’t ready to accept her so would use makeup to darken her skin for some roles. Its sad that in order to be accepted as either white or black in this country you have either deny a part of yourself or look more “black” Why do we limit ourselves? Naveen is black in my eyes, I look more like him than tiana and I’m black. sorry I’m not darker or have more stereotypical black features, My bad. I guess as an actress i have to claim to be neither here nor there, or never star in a film with a leading black male or white one or anyone I guess.

    • Sister, I already know about Fredi Washington. I already know that many blacks can pass. Asking for a black prince in this case is not “limiting” oneself.

  47. In all honesty, I dont care. What is the desperate need to pair black woman with black man? In case this sends out mixed messages to children? Don’t you think there are other forms of education out there apart from Disney films.

    Instead of a big political and ethical debate, why can’t we all sit and wait for the film? I sure as hell dont think this much of a fuss was made when Aladdin came out. Why must we black people (or politically correct activists out there) nitpick and get defensive when our race in involved? Is it so bad that she’s not with a black man? For pete’s sake, its a Disney movie. It’s meant to entertain not educate because if it was the latter, we’d be a pretty messed up world by now.

    Also, extra point- talking about Naveen’s voice actor and how he must be Brazilian because of the person portraying him. You do realise Tiana’s dad is voiced by John Goodman right? Does that mean he should be white? A good actor should be able to pull of a range of accents.

    Anyway, I’m not here to argue, I’m just here to point out a few things. I’m just a 21 year old Black British girl excited for a black princess in a Disney film. If she’s as cool as The Muses were in Hercules then I’m SOLD.

  48. If Naveen is ticking you off, at least rest assured that there *IS* an example of a healthy happy black relationship in Tiana’s parents.

    Look at this lovely hi-res still:
    http://www.slashfilm.com/wp/wp-content/images/110.jpg

    Looks very promising. And since the movie starts with her life as a young girl (thankfully she doesn’t fall victim to the typical “Disney orphaned hero” stereotype), they should get a decent amount of screen time. Either way, this movie seems to have both black love and interracial love covered with some sensitivity. But it’s still too early to make sweeping judgment either way.

    Just know that it’s not entirely hopeless!

  49. Hey my name is Naveen. No Lie.

  50. The movie is fine, chill!

  51. If you hate this movie so damn much then don’t go see it. Nobody cares anyway. Believe it or not there are actually people who can’t wait to see it. And a lot of them also have their own problems with this movie (including me), but at least they’re willing to give it a chance and hold their judgement until they’ve actually seen the entire film (not just the trailer and a few images). And that’s the whole point of my previous comments and your so-called “the rest of your response”, which you so slyly shunned by calling it “hot air”. I know I probably should be offended but I actually think it’s brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that myself!? Next time when I don’t know how to respond to a comment I’ll just call it “hot air”. Isn’t it just convenient?

    And by the way, don’t bother replying either cuz I’m tired of trying to reason with someone whose definition of “reasoning” is to make prejudgements as they wish and insult anyone who dares to disagree.

    • I don’t hate the film, I really can’t stand the illogic (the ones who created it) behind it.

  52. “I’ve never even uttered the word, racist, within the critique.”

    No, you didn’t. But then again you don’t have to use the word “racist” to deem something racist, and that’s basically what you’re accusing Disney of in your critique.

    “Black folks are shown to be hard to please when it is really THAT simple”

    Yes, that’s what I was trying to say: black people are hard to please. And no, it is not that simple. And I said “you people” (Sorry but I meant no offense) because you African Americans always get so defensive and over-sensitive when it comes to anything that has to do with black people. A movie featuring African Americans still gets complaints even when done by African Americans themselves. If you think it is that simple and believe so strongly about normative portrayal of black people in movies and TVs, then why don’t you make a normative African American movie or TV show yourself, or at least try to get involved? If you want something changed, go out and make the change, don’t just sit here and type about it.

    And what bugs me the most about all this criticism is that people are jumping to the conclusions so quickly. I’m not saying you can’t complain about the movie at all because you have absolutely every right to, but couldn’t you at least wait till you’ve seen this movie? Don’t forget that Disney has asked “leaders in the African American community all across the nation, to make sure [they are] doing something African American families will be proud of.” In addition to that I’m sure they’re handling every detail of the movie with extra careful thoughts and considerations. And haven’t they made a lot of changes to the movie already because of the complaints from people like you? The thing is Disney can’t make everyone happy because it’s simply impossible. The best they can do is try to make as many people/African Americans happy as possible, and that’s what they’re trying to achieve right now. And now thanks to people like you, the movie may very well tank due to all this negativity. Is that what you want to see happen?

    • I am accusing Disney of sinking their own show. Period. They were going to have African-American princess? Then deliver on an African-American prince, too. THAT would have pleased African Americans first and foremost. Other things would have paled next to this achievement.

      I don’t think that I would like to see an animated film that has a firefly that needs dental work, either.

      I would hope that Disney listens to those African American leaders you speak of, who would have definitely said as well, “ditch the bright-skinned prince.”

      The rest of your response is so much hot air, there’s not much use in replying.

      • Of course it would please africaen americans. because thats the only important race, right? blacks are the only people disney should consider when they make a movie? maybe they made the prince a different ethnicity to attract other races! but im sure you never thought about that, because youre just another narrowminded blogger who refuses to accept or even consider anyone elses opinions and points of view.

        personally i dont give a shit, im gonna take my daughter to see the movie whether the prince (or princess!) is black, white, yellow, or purple, because it looks like a good movie regardless of what race the characters are. stop being so biased and self-righteous about your race. who gives a shit what color your skin is (or the color of pencil they chose to use in a cartoon), your blood is red just like everyone else on the planet. youre not different and unique, youre a frickin human being and its time you start acting like one instead of excluding things that arent for blacks and blacks only.

  53. Here’s another PC critic who’s quick to jump to their own conclusions and deem the movie racist when they have not even seen the friggin’ movie yet.

    What’s really ironic about your article is that you mentioned Obama as “an equivalent of a black prince in the White House”, yet you seemed to have forgotten about the fact that Obama himself is also a child of an interracial couple, which is what Tiana and Prince Naveen are in the movie. And speaking of Tiana and Prince Naveen, Obama and his wife Michelle are actually very much like the two characters in terms of ethnicity, where Tiana is 100% black like Michelle, while Prince Naveen is neither white nor black and whose race is ambiguous just like Obama (Let’s face it. He’s technically only half white/black and therefore should not be considered a 100% black man).

    The truth is, no matter what Disney does with this movie people will always find things to complain about. It’s as if you people wouldn’t be happy unless you can find something that’s flawed in it. Just be grateful that we finally have a beautiful African American princess at all in a Disney movie. Or would you rather that Disney never makes a film featuring a black princess (or a black main character for that matter). Would that make you people happier?

    • I’ve never even uttered the word, racist, within the critique.

      Again, you and others miss the point by miles. We would like to see black couples being depicted as normative, not just white or biracial couples. There’s nothing wrong with that request AT ALL.

      Save your breath about Obama being biracial. You forget about the qualifying word, “equivalent.” Obama knows who he is. Black people know who he is, too. He’s chosen to be black, within the context of black culture and American culture as well. I would say the same thing about The Cosby Show.

      You say:

      It’s as if you people wouldn’t be happy unless you can find something that’s flawed in it. Just be grateful that we finally have a beautiful African American princess at all in a Disney movie.

      That term, you people, is just like fighting words.

      Black folks are shown to be hard to please when it is really THAT simple. We want to see ourselves as normal and not really out of the ordinary, and in this case, that there is nothing wrong with showing black love. Disney has fallen flat on its face on this score, and many black people are simply not going to support the film because of it.

      Grateful. Oh, please. Just don’t go there unless you really want to see some missing front teeth.

    • I’m late, but I HAVE to respond to this comment:

      “Prince Naveen is neither white nor black and whose race is ambiguous just like Obama (Let’s face it. He’s technically only half white/black and therefore should not be considered a 100% black man).”

      YOU forget one thing: President Obama chose to self-identify as African American, therefore he’s African American. Period.

      Furthermore, President Obama’s race has NEVER been ambiguous. He’s half-Kenyan black and half-American white. He knows this and has known since birth. We know this and have known since he entered the public eye.

      “Just be grateful that we finally have a beautiful African American princess at all in a Disney movie.”

      That’s where you completely lose me. Should I have a cap in hands and bow my head so low that it touches the ground while I thank Disney profusely for acknowledging our existence at all?

      Screw that.

  54. Again as I said above that there ARE black guys who look like Price Naveen.

    • And I think that I also said that Disney should have located the prince within a cultural black context, rather than this rather ludicrous colorless and culture-less individual.

  55. I’m not really all the interested in discussing the movie itself or the issue of the lack of a black prince or an interracial relationship, since there’s no pont in arguing over it. I just want to address a few offensive things mentioned. I’m just a fourteen year old girl voicing my opinion so feel free to skip over this if you want. I don’t care.

    1.For all your outrage about racial issues, I think your mockery of the name “Naveen” is pretty ignorant. Naveen is a legitimate Indian name and not something Disney just pulled out of their asses. It also happens to be my friend’s name, so I took particular offense to the remark.

    2. Saying that an actor of a particular background HAS to play a character of that background is ignorant and insulting to talented actors. Ever seen House? Maybe you haven’t heard, but you know that main actor who speaks perfect American English?…SURPRISE! he’s British. Or maybe you’ve seen The Bridget Jones Diaries? That quirky female lead with the British accent–well you’ll be just blown away to know she’s American!

    3. I think Disney deliberately put all these contradicting racial aspects together just for irritating people like you getting all up in arms for a movie that ISNT EVEN FOR YOU! It’s for children who barely know which accent comes from where. Please welcome in us Generation Zs, who aren’t so narrow minded and uptight.

    • Excuse me for living, but let me respond to each one of your ignorant, insensitive remarks that have everything to do with arguing about a black prince.

      1. Black Americans have had hair and skin care products with names like Nadinola, Nuveen, Dax, DooGro and Aphogee. It’s perfectly rational for me to make such referemces, because to other black people, it would also seem weird for a prince to be named as such. And understand, because something is one thing in an Indian dialect, it is not the same in English. It becomes a nonsense name. And that, in itself, is insulting to black people.

      2. and 3. I have seen House and Bridget Jones, etc. The problem is that they are LIVE ACITON, while The Princess and the Frog is a CARTOON.

      3. You East Indian young women seem thoroughly caught up in this pipe dream of having an East Indian prince-Bollywood type as the prince charming in this flick. For your information, nitwits, this film is supposed to be targeted to AFRICAN AMERICANS first and foremost, not YOU. Disney put this stupid character in because they are uncomfortable about putting a black man as a prince. Traditionally, Disney cartoon films are supposed to be family-oriented, which means it has to appeal to the adults as well as to the children. I mean, they have to sit there in the theatre, too! Aunts, uncles, grandmothers, mothers, and daddies. And as for your asinine remark, that children don’t know about accents, you are so very wrong about how children don’t perceive differences or get messages about the world out there, even from an ‘innocent’ film.

      You have no idea and no consciousness whatsoever about what the importance of a cartoon black prince would be, and not only to just African Americans. You Gen Z people seem to think that these decisions from corporations like Disney fall from grace, when they are located in cultural struggles about identity and self-image that was in place before you were born and that you would like to ignore–to your own detriment. Racism isn’t over.

      For the record, I stated before in my essay that I have no problem AT ALL with interracing among African Americans (and I have done so in my own life) but in this case, I wanted to see a BLACK PRINCE WITH A BLACK PRINCESS.

      It’s just that simple. Stupid.

      • Let’s see, now who’s sounding ignorant?
        “You East Indian young women seem thoroughly caught up in this pipe dream of having an East Indian prince-Bollywood type as the prince charming in this flick. For your information, nitwits, this film is supposed to be targeted to AFRICAN AMERICANS first and foremost, not YOU.”

        Thanks for that blanket characterization of all young Indian females. Regardless of whether or not Disney intended Naveen to be an Indian name, South Asians are going to notice that it is an Indian name just like you might notice that the princess in black. There’s nothing wrong with that – it’s called a different opinion or perspective

        I frankly don’t care whether this prince in black or Indian or whatever, but the fact that you seem to think so much of your own opinion just demanded this response.

        • I think so much of my own opinion that I have my own blog.

          And frankly, I am sick and tired of the East Indian young women who have come on this blog fantasizing without basis about Prince Naveen’s origins, not ALL East Indian women. Quit jumping to conclusions and get a clue.

  56. OMG!!!!! Are you crazy ? The most important is love ,not color of skin

    • That’s not the point. The point is to depict black love as normative, not just white or interracial love.

  57. The voice actor for Naveen is Brazilian, hence the accent and somewhat matching appearance. Also, what’s wrong with interracial relationships?

    • NOTHING is wrong with interracial relationships.

      I just want to see a BLACK PRINCE with a BLACK PRINCESS for once.

      You are not aware of the history of film to know why healthy depiction of black couples is few and far between.

  58. [...] Disney’s First Black Princess Has a Wha…White! Latino? Prince @ This Black Sista’s Page 19/03/09 [...]

  59. Still waiting for our Latina princess.

  60. I don’t see what the big deal is! I mean yes, I wish the prince was black so we can finally have black children loving themselves and to know that they can be happy together. But I don’t see why black men are making such a big deal about it because all they date is white women, so why are they mad if a black woman dates a white man? Because they are selfish they want everything to themselves. I hate it when black men get mad when they see a black woman dating a white man. But they never have a problem with seeing a white woman with a black woman. Everytime we discuss interracial dating, say for instance a white woman and a black man the ones who are usually upset are the black woman and you would barely hear from a black man, because he was enjoyi

  61. I understand your perspective…i do, but interracial couples need to be depicted as well its not just a one sided thing, white with white,latino latino , black and black.We have forgotten that these characters are human…beside different skin color they are human none the less. For the most part i believe people should be proud to have a bi racial princess as lead character, not the usual fabricated one. But instead they read into a innocent Disney movie and covert it to a whole racial issue…We are all equal ,Latinos,African Americans, and Caucasians, and i believe we all should be portrayed in something.

    • If you compare interracial couples with that of black couples, there are more interracial couples being depicted than a black woman and a black man. Please, in this case, I can empathize with those who would like to see Princess Tiana with a black prince, and with good reason. It sends just as much a positive message as those wanting to see interracial couples.

  62. We are we freaking out about the prince? What we should be realy talking about is that messed up fly. What is with that? He remind me of those slave depictons that make black people look lie fools.

    • The firefly is a CAJUN…a WHITE Cajun nonetheless.

    • I agree. He’s a snaggletoothed IDIOT.

      He’s going to be another Jar Jar Binks.

      I do not think the firefly is being depicted as a white Cajun.

  63. Actually I know a guy who is black who looks legit exactly like that.
    I can see both sides of the arguement:

    I think it’s good that they are potraying interacial couples because for so long it has been taboo. And it’s better than the overly done black man/prissy white girl and angry black woman antagnist match up. I think it shows that black woman are apealing to people of other races, unlike how they are usually potrayed.

    At the same time I think that there should be a mainstream ptrayal of black love. Becasue all that is shown is the usual “baba mama drama welfare case situation” when there is a black couple. But I think that mainstream America (or white America) is not ready for that quite yet. There just getting used to Barrack snd Michelle.

  64. Just a thought ugmmm the setting was in 1920s and I am not too sure if there were any Black prince/s in America that time or in any other part of the world other than Africa? please correct me if I am wrong O_O Although I wish they do could’ve made up something to ensure Princess Tiana gets a black prince like setting it in a far away land from a long time ago like all the other fairytale films they had before, I mean come’on, they didn’t had to be specific IMO … I mean even Mulan got a chink hunkie and as mentioned before Aladdin got an Arabic chick, so what’s up? T_T

    • Madagascar had a royal family until 1896, until it was driven into exile in Algeria. The Malagasys are a mixed African, Arab, and East Indian people. Ethiopia had an emperor until 1974.

      Haiti once had emperors. They could have made him a pretender prince of Haiti, and taken advantage of the connections between Haiti and New Orleans.

      What Disney has done is more than just stupid, it’s cowardly as well.

      Please don’t use the word “chink” here again, because it is pejorative for Chinese.

  65. As a white female who grew up on Disney, I would have looooooved to have African American heroine and hero. I begged my grandmother for the black barbie and ken dolls (of which I was flatly refused). “God forbid I mix them with my blonde-haired/ blue-eyed dolls”. Anyway, I digress.

    I’m normally one to roll my eyes at people playing the “race card”. HOWEVER, I think Disney has it all wrong here. I agree the prince should look more like Denzel Washington (yum) than Ricky Martin (ew) and what’s up with the voo-doo queen?

    I really wanted this one to succeed and now it’s going to get ugly. I think the Tiana character is adorable and I liked that they made her an entrepreneur (although Cinderella was practically a maid). I think Disney has a long way to go (along with the rest of the media) in their investment in African American, cultural capital. I wish I could do more myself.

  66. Princess Tiana is gorgeous, I can’t wait for the movie to come out! I personally don’t give a flip what race Naveen is. My only complaint is that his chin is way too long lol.

  67. [...] do confirm my view, in my first post about this controversy, “Disney’s First Black Princess Has a Wha…White! Latino? Prince,” that Disney is going to blow it, because Naveen is not going to garner any points among many [...]

  68. Naveen IS an Indian name. Since India didn’t exist at the time, he’s probably a prince from a kingdom in the Indian subcontinent. I’m Indian, so I’m ecstatic about having an Indian Prince.

    • India existed in the 1920s, the era in which this animated film is set. It may not have been an independent country at the time. It did have princes and maharajas…so why isn’t he dressed as one?

      The problem still remains, why the Latino accent? Not even Indians who lived under the Portuguese would have a Latino accent. And why is he in a swamp in Creole and Cajun Louisiana?

      Get a grip. Disney is the one out of its mind.

      • Have you heard the actor while he was playing Naveen?

        Is it the character that has a Brazilian accent or the actor? Because actors can and do change their accents depending on the role. I know Bruno Campos, the voice actor, is Brazilian born, but if the character, Naveen, is not from Brazil or Latin America the actor may have to change it. What he may change it to, I don’t know. If it is a default North American one, then that poses other problems.

        As for his attire, in that promotional(?) picture, they both have lily pad inspired clothing which I guess is keeping in line with the bayou setting so I don’t know if we can assume too much based on that. Since he’s not in his own country, he may have decided on local clothing. (We’ve only seen ONE picture of the guy, folks.) Perhaps he could be dressed more appropriately. It may be sloppy attention to detail on Disney’s part. I must admit that a maharaja with an affinity for jazz and African-American culture would make for a really interesting character. Why not just say he’s from a real kingdom in the Indian subcontinent instead of creating a fictional country. I know people would think what would he be doing in the southern US anyway? Maybe that would open up all kinds of historical plot holes, but it’s not like anyone turns to Disney for a history lesson.

        As for your question about why he’s in a swamp in Creole and Cajun Louisiana, from Wiki (which may not be that reliable, but still)

        Prince Naveen is: An early twenty-something gregarious, fun-loving Prince who comes to the French Quarter for the Jazz scene…

        If he came to Louisiana for that reason, maybe I’m not too far off. He actually reminds me of Bollywood star Salman Khan. Perhaps, it would have been far more authentic to get a Bollywood actor to play Naveen.

        And I’m sorry if I’m annoying I’m just really excited about this movie. There aren’t many spaces where I can discuss the racial aspect of this without people being dismissive about black folks concerns.

        • If the person voicing the character has a Latino accent, then we are to assume that the character is not East Indian. If the person voicing the character has a British accent, then we are to assume that the character is British. I don’t need to hear the prince’s voice for myself; the initial reviewers have said that the person voicing the character is from Brazil.

          People can figure out by dress, by voice, and by manner who people are when it comes to film. If Prince Naveen was an East Indian prince, then he should be dressing as such, and should be speaking as such. The same would be if he were African American, Asian, or even Native American.

          Fine by me if you want to engage in wishful thinking, but it’s not based on reality, which is part of what I am trying to say in this piece. If Aladdin could have a Arabic princess, why can’t Tiana have a black prince?

        • Naveen comes from…Maldonia.

          Ah…that doesn’t sound East Indian to me. At all. And I am not even from the subcontinent.

          It sounds Mitteleuropa…

          The film is set in Louisiana. Tiana was born in New Orleans. (And I am from New Orleans.)

          Lastly, Naveen is voiced by BRUNO CAMPOS. This is a Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking name, something you didn’t want to include in your last comment. But of course, up to now, I didn’t have to refer to Wikipedia to talk authoritatively about the film.

          Again, if Aladdin could have an Arabic princess, why couldn’t Tiana have a black prince?

          • Blksista, why are you so hung up on this movie being a racial slap in the face? It’s a MOVIE, for christsakes, and a children’s one at that!

            Alladin had an Arabic princess because they were in The Middle East way back when, when the Middle East wasn’t particularly inundated with people of any other race beside Arabic. You are forgetting that America is a ‘mixing pot’ of cultures! People from every race and background are welcome here! Did you ever think that may be what Disney is trying to portray? Why is it so inconceivable to you that a black woman would fall in love with someone who is not black?

            Do you think Disney is so stupid that they would intentionally insert racial jabs into their movies? If you worked for Disney, would you not consider all the offence that would be taken and lawsuits that would ensue? I find it hard to believe that th Disney Corporation is made up soley of a bunch of old, white men, sitting around smoking cigars and plotting over which race to offend next. Obviously, there are some black people that work there that have had input in this film. Disney is well-known to be very thorough when it comes to researching the subjects of their films,k and you can bet your bottom dollar they have ‘consultants’ who are of African-American descent.

            It’s ironic that you keep harping that Disney is rascist for not making the Prince black. It sounds to me like you are the only rascist one here.

        • The actor doesn’t have a Brazilian accent. He has a fully American accent and is faking an accent for the film.
          In regard to the prince’s race/ethnic background I personally don’t think it’s a huge deal. I myself am African-American and I am thrilled that Disney has finally gotten a black princess. I was curious to know what the prince’s background is, especially since when they’d briefly shown his parents, they both looked black to me. But my guess is that the prince is Creole.

          It’s pretty ridiculous to me that so many people were ready to pick this movie apart before it had even been released – from the races of the main characters, right down to it’s New Orleans setting.

          Many, if not all Americans are aware of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy that heavily affected New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana. Today it does hold some tragic memories for some people. But the movie isn’t taking place in 2005 – it’s taking place in the 1920’s. I would think that instead of people taking it as a negative reminder of once was, they should cherish the jazzy/musical roots, the Mardi Gras tradition that surrounds the film’s storyline and the wonderfully celebrated melting pot of races/cultures that hailed from New Orleans (yet another reason why I love the various accents that appear in the film).

          And yes, it’s the 21st century and thank God for that. Can we not take backwards steps by focusing so strongly on the race of CARTOON characters?

      • Also, he ended up in a swamp cause he got turned into a frog.

        *shrug*

      • Naveen is from Maldonia, a fictional country that has royalty and its own made-up language, which is not Latin, Portuguese, Indian or whatever (probably a mix of all of them). The point of the Naveen character is that he’s a FOREIGN prince from an unknown FOREIGN country. Where he’s really from or his ethnicity is not important to the story.
        And this is Disney for goodness’s sake! Should anyone really be surprised?

        • Who cares?

          As I stated before, we would have cared about a black prince from Haiti, or black Africa, or Madagascar, so long as it was indicative of blackness.

          Maldonia sounds like, as I said before, he comes from the middle of Europe–Mitteleuropa. Not even India or Pakistan. And so far, Disney hasn’t acquiesced to much that I have heard of. They’re still headed for disaster at the box office in my view.

          • “Who cares?”
            That’s funny. Aren’t you the one who keeps getting worked up over the prince’s ethnicity?

            And it sounds like you really want this movie to fail at the box office more than anything so that it will finally validate the whole point of your “critique”: America hates black folks. So now I get it!

          • “…as long as it is indicative of BLACKNESS”? Are you for real? You keep going on and on and on about Disney being racsist, when you yourself are too narrowminded to entertain the thought that two people of different races can fall in love and be together!

            I guess if you’re not black, then you’re racsist, right?

            You need to watch this.

  69. I did understand your point about him looking like a white dude with a tan, the assumption that having an obviously black leading male would alienate white people. And I can also understand the desire to see two black people in love. It does make you wonder about how they think about black men and women and their inability to depict a loving relationship between the two. And what are they saying about black men by not allowing them to be princes? Regardless of Naveen’s race, why did Disney make the conscious decision not to give Tiana an African-American prince? It raises some interesting questions. The common thread in all of these discussions is Naveen’s non-blackness. But to tell you the truth, when I saw this character, I never read him as white. And I think that’s why I never had a problem with Naveen to begin with. He’s not African-American, but he IS a POC at least (I understand that our non-whiteness doesn’t make us interchangable).

    In response to what you said about him not being Asian, he has the light brown skin, the dark eyes and the dark hair that many SA’s have. I’m just really hesitant about saying that he’s not Asian simply by looking at him because, it may not always be obvious. And there’s a lot of variation within groups as well. There are South Asians with light skin and eyes, but they wouldn’t be categorized as white as we understand it. I realize that I could be wrong, but I don’t think Disney would just randomly give him a name like Naveen.

    That’s why I wasn’t as troubled by Tiana and Naveen. I’ve always read him as a man of colour and I was glad to see that, for once, even if they didn’t depict an African-American couple, at least they avoided the POC/white relationship which is what we typically see when it comes to interracial relationships. Whiteness usually finds a way to insinuate itself.

    I think this movie will start some interesting debates. I can’t wait.

  70. “Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen…Naveen?? Sounds like a jar of black hair creme.”

    Hm. I think Naveen is actually an Indian name. Perhaps the character is of South Asian descent.

    • “Perhaps the character is of South Asian descent.”

      Um, with a Brazilian accent?

      • Sure.

        Asian Latin Americans do exist. And Brazil has quite a few of them.

        If you are of South Asian descent and born and raised in Brazil you can have the accent. Just as being born in any other part of the world can affect your accent regardless of your race.

        • Llama, I do know that Asian Brazilians are not uncommon. However, in this case, looking at the cartoon, this is not an Asian man. He barely comes in as Latino. Which is my point entirely.

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