When Disney released The Princess and the Frog in 2009, fans hailed it as revolutionary. For the first time in the company’s history, a young Black woman not only fronted her own animated feature, but she also joined the ranks of legendary Disney princesses.
Since then, Princess Tiana has gone on to be one of the company’s most popular characters. So fans were elated over her appearance in the upcoming sequel to Wreck It Ralph…until they actually saw her on screen. Now some are accusing animators of lightening the character’s skin in the forthcoming film.
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Last week, Entertainment Weekly shared a still from Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 that shows several Disney princesses gathered together for a girl’s night in. While many were excited to see them all together, others pointed out Princess Tiana’s new look, which includes lighter skin and different features.
“In today’s edition of ‘you tried it,’ Disney decided to reinforce colorism by lightening Princess Tiana’s skin in #RalphBreaksTheInternet,” one Twitter user wrote. “Tiana was a dark skin Black woman in Princess and the Frog, now she has light skin and Eurocentric features. What happened to her wide nose?”
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Others pointed out that in the latest Ralph Breaks the Internet trailer, Princess Tiana looks different than she did during the first trailer.
In spite of some progress, colorism in Hollywood is still a major issue. So it makes sense that people are protective of Princess Tiana’s character and her legacy.
For many young Black girls, seeing her onscreen felt affirming and they don’t want her skin and features whitewashed just to make her fit in with her fellow princesses.
So far, Disney hasn’t responded to the criticism.
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