Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Searching for happy endings
Many people can remember how once upon a time, they were just kids drinking a glass of Kool-Aid and watching a Walt Disney Co. movie on TV. It became clear that fairytales have a profound effect on people after we asked readers how they feel about the upcoming film, “The Frog Princess.” We received an overwhelming response about the movie, which will feature Disney’s first black princess. Take it from LaSondra Dawn of Detroit, Michigan, whose kids get excited about seeing Disney on Ice every year.

"They look at princesses like a fairytale where everything is right and everything is the way they want it to be -- their fairy world complete with all the lace and the trimmings and magic. It's an escape to a faraway place, their own little world where they are beautiful and they are magical."

Amid majestic castles and magic spells, the character becomes a reflection of the child’s hopes and dreams, she said.

“It’s seeing themselves and actually being able to visualize, ‘That's me. I'm that princess,’ as opposed to saying, ‘I want to be like that princess.’ I think it's more of a physical connection.”

This fairytale isn’t just kids’ stuff. Check out our audio slide show, reader e-mails and gallery, and let us know what you think.
It's about time! Maybe Disney can start working on the racist innuendos in their movies now.
Why even bring this up as an issue, even if it is just for news.
Every little girl deserves a chance and she got hers. I am happy for her but disappointed that race still makes the news.

Get over it. We are now in the 21st century........
I think its great there is a black princess, but there should be a black prince as well and it could have had a better name to it. I've read comments that the newspapers say "First Black Disney princess" and some are asking why there are headlines like this. The answer is,we americans still have a way to go as far as being racists. Blacks have been portrayed as lazy, ugly and thugs. We need to get past this and realize we are all equal.
John R., it is sad that race makes the news. However, African Americans are just beginning to be portrayed in a positive manner in film & news media;something that whites have been privileged to for decades...so, it is a big deal!
It is about time. So John, even though we are in the 21 st centrury race is still an issue. Little girls need to see girls/women that look like them. It boosts their self estem.
My 6 year old white daughter plays with her 6 year old black friends - they have tea parties, dress up as princesses and so on ...they don't see the color - only us adults. Good move Disney.
This is not Disney's first Black Princess. If you recall, the 1997 remake of Cinderella starring Whitney Houston and the princess played by Brandy. I believe it was an all black cast.
I am glad to see a princess of color, but can remember my own (WASP)childhood where all of the princesses seemed to be blond. I really can't say that I remember this exactly, because I KNEW that I WAS that princess. Looking like the one on the screen didn't matter. It was the idea. Children today need to see beyond the color issue...we're ALL God's children.

Racists may be surprised someday to find God is a person of color, but I suppose they'd rather be in Hell. Racists need to find a hobby which doesn't included putting someone else down in a feeble and futile attempt to elevate themselves.
While I applaud Disney for diversifying its movie heroines, I take exception to those who would vilify the company for its previously Caucasian-only princesses. An informed individual might surmise that the sources of fairy tales such as Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, or The Little Mermaid are decidedly Northern and Western European. The men responsible for these staples of children's literature, Hans Christian Anderson and the Grimm brothers, hail from Denmark and Germany respectively. Just as I would not expect to see a blond-haired, blue-eyed woman interacting with the African\West Indian Ananzi the spider, I would likewise be confused to see a princess of African origin frolicking through a French-inspired castle.

Even with this newest venture, Disney cannot completely escape the European influence. The Frog Princess, a reworking of The Frog Prince, can once again be traced back to an appearance a Grimm brothers' book.

To all those who see this as a victory in the war of continued oppression against certain ethnic groups in Hollywood, I say wake up! The issue here is not racism, but a simple case of demographics. Do not fault Disney for refusing to "Americanize" stories whose characters were decided hundreds of years ago. People write about what they know and can relate to. White Europeans writing about white Europeans? Shocking!
I think that is great, however they should keep on bringing new princess of different race.
All I have to say is, "it's about time"

thank you so much.

Marisol
One person has commented about the relationship of the original stories written by The Grimm Brothers/Hans Christian Anderson and the remakes of Walt Disney and how it is not Disney's fault for "Americanizing" the tales. If you do not think that Disney "Americanized" the tales then I do not think you have actually read the original stories. The Disney versions are not even close to the original stories, being that the original versions would probally have a "R" rating instead of Disney's "G" ratings. People do write about what they know but that does not mean that the stories will not change to adapt to the times. Why do you think that Disney changed all of the stories he used, to reflect the times and viewpoints of his day. It has nothing to do with demographics, if it did, then Disney would not have changed the stories at all and the characters would not have spoken English. And the last time I checked, Disney was not an European writing about Europeans. Why does it matter anyway that the characters race has been changed, it is still getting the same message across to its viewers.
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