by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
Congratulations to Anika Noni Rose, also known as Princess Tiana from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog! Rose, I’m not trying to take away your shine for being honored as an official Disney Legend, but I have a beef with the exclusive mistreatment of our beloved black princess.
Based on my observations, it looks like the black princess was only created to insincerely fulfill a cultural gap and move on. It was a turn off for me to pick up a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup that boasted a big image of Princess Tiana on the front of the can only to turn it over and see the following: a noodle for every other princess featured on the can EXCEPT for Princess Tiana. What is that! The behind the scenes creators cannot even include the black princess in a can of soup?
It would not surprise me if I heard that was a terrible let down for many black girls. It was for me, and I’m grown. I was ecstatic when the black princess came out. As a black little girl, growing up without Princess Tiana was painful. I used to read the Disney Girls book series which featured a group of friends who all had a special connection with a Disney princess. The only problem was that there was no black princess for the black girl to have a special vibe with, so they arbitrarily paired her with Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Even as a third grader, I knew there was something wrong with that. Then the year I turned 20 years old, it finally happened. The black princess had arrived, my Disney wish had come true, and best believe I was in line with all the other excited little black girls buying Princess Tiana decorations for my birthday. It is terrible that our prized black princess we have all waited on for so long is being mistreated.
The sistas aren’t the only ones feeling the exclusive pinch, however. Other ethnic princesses such as Mulan and Pocahontas are also often left out of Disney Princess paraphernalia featuring the princess bunch. Things like this do not help break down the negative image that it is all about white in America. I guess the melting pot nation needs to simmer a bit longer before all the different flavors can blend together in harmony.
In the mean time, back to you, Rose. Thank you for playing the role of Princess Tiana with dignity and pride. Bask in your glory as the black woman among other contributors to the Disney legacy who will be honored as official Disney Legends at the D23 EXPO. According to PR Newswire reports, this event will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, August 19, in the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.
Ayvaunn Penn is a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.