Disney's first African American princess has been making headlines and string up controversy since it's announcement about two years ago, as expected. Ultimately, there are two camps regarding the issue: passionate anti-Disney outcry and the defensive Disney can do no wrong crowd. People have been serving their opinions left and right, even causing Disney to tweak the story line and change the name of the lead character to mollify the already heated concerns. One particular
blog, Racialicious , (yes that's the actual name) sums up the general matter perfectly and has grabbed my attention. As a part Hispanic, black, and white male I felt at once obligated to weigh in by my own means and also moved to respond the writer’s criticism.
here is a link to the essay
Because it’s Disney people automatically assume that there is a lesson being told. The truth being however, that Disney first and foremost is a company committed to making entertainment. Secondly, Disney is publicly owned; therefore it has an obligation to it’s shareholders to make money. Apart from business, I think Disney has made some incredible strides in their filmmaking and television in terms of diversity i.e. First transgender actress, Candis Cayne on network TV, A biracial romance in an animated film (Hunchback of Notre Dame & Pocahontas) ect.
When people think Disney films they think of the product and not the fact that hundreds of artists work to get it made, each with their own individual tastes, walks of life, and ethnic backgrounds. Just as it’s impossible for any animated film influenced by politically correctness to completely represent a respective heritage or ethnicity, it’s rather difficult for one movie to speak for all of its filmmakers
The problem I have with the criticism is that it reflects a racial-centric tendency that prevents society from total and complete equality. The message of this article is not that Disney is racist; rather it details how our ethnicity is central to our being. Much in the same way black super models are accused of veritable ethnic cleansing for straightening their hair or dying it blonde, Disney comes under fire if a black heroine falls in love with a white prince. When in an ideal society that shouldn’t matter, but in a racially obsessed world, perfectly aligned with the injustices of the past and the tribulations of the present, an interracial relationship would be off limits; especially in an animated family film.
What is also bothersome is the profuse sense of entitlement that unfairly attacks any sense of creative licensee on Disney’s part. “Superficially pro-multicultural” films like Pocahontas were intended to be poetic prayers for peace as opposed to hardcore retellings of actual events. In princess and the frog’s case, The heroine’s “raggedy half-toothless firefly” sidekick just doesn’t compare to Sebastian the crab. More importantly, stating that young black boys will miss a positive black male figure to look up to is valid, however ones skin color should not be the criteria for a relatable, positive role model. (Not my criteria at least, I always respected and look up to Barbra Streisand, a white, Jewish, liberal, feminist.)
The point is this: I don’t want to be hampered by labels; I want to be liberated from them.
but how are you guys reacting to this?