Last month, Tony Award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose did the honor of unveiling Disney’s Princess Tiana doll, the company’s first African-American princess and lead of the company’s upcoming animated fairy tale “The Princess & The Frog.” Rose, who lends her voice to the character joins a predominantly Black cast. However, Tiana’s Prince Charming, Naveen, happens to be voiced by a Brazilian actor who appears to look more White than Black in photos released by Disney. The issue has African-American fans expressing their disappointment about the message that the absence of a strong African-American male presence will send to America.
Some of the comments from fans range from: “I think it’s sad that he is White because it’s saying that Black love isn’t good enough and that Black men could never be princes” to “I am very disappointed and I wished Disney had made the prince Black, (and the ironic thing is the prince in the movie is White but the evil voodoo villain is voiced by a Black actor and is Black).”
Rose expressed her pride in setting such a historical precedent. “Not only is she the first Black princess, she’s the first American princess. We’ve never had an American princess. The scope and the significance is larger than people even realize.” Set in 1920 New Orleans, “The Princess & the Frog” debuts later this year.
Watch the trailer of “The Princess & the Frog”