CBS News took a stab at the whole Disney’s first African-American princess story with their new New Orleans-based “The Princess and the Frog” film. Naturally they discussed both the excitement and Disney’s less than stellar track record when it comes to portraying various ethnicities in animation. (*Cough* Song of the South! *Cough*) They also talk about the controversy surrounding the princess’ love interest being a Brazilian prince of some sort. Naturally some have argued “what the hell” to there being no black prince. I can see both sides of the argument on this one. On one hand, don’t really care that the prince is Brazilian and not visibly black Brazilian. (Yay for the swirl!) On the other hand, Brazilian is pretty fucking random. (The swirl’s in here why?)
More story and video after the jump.
I wish so badly I could have been a fly on the wall of that meeting where they decided to make the prince non-black just so I could know what machinations they had to go through to come up with “Brazilian.” Was there a list of approved ethnicities? Why couldn’t he be just some form of local Creole? Is Creole too hard to explain to people outside of the bayou? Native American — been there, done that? (Kinda.) French? Was that too obvious? Spanish? Again, too obvious? How does one connect Brazil to NOLA other than they both have really wild parties? (Although I think Carnivale beats Mardi Gras.) I mean, they speak Portuguese there. NOLA was a former French-Spanish port. I’m not getting the connection.
Neither are a lot of people.
For many — the question is pointed — if we can have an African American president, why not an African American prince? Inquiring minds (and moms) want to know.
Is it for economic reasons — that is, the same reason they pair Will Smith so often with a Latina counterpart in his films — because black couples don’t “sell” in Hollywood? Is it because a black prince is just not plausible? Is it because it’s high time that we see an interracial couple in a cartoon? Why now is the kiddie conglomerate conveniently color blind? This was a conscious decision on the part of Disney. Why? (AOL Blackvoices)
Of course, some reports say it’s just the actor who voices the prince who is Brazilian and that the doodled dude is actually from a made up fantasy place that I’m just going to call “Post-Racial Island,” the fairy tale land where none of this shit matters anymore. You know? That place where none of us happen to live.
But I’m suuuuuuure the movie will explain that fantasy island and all our other unanswered questions when it’s released. Positive.