History is made on December 11, 2009, when Disney released their first African-American Princess movie, The Princess and the Frog, in theaters nationwide. This movie is very culturally significant, being it is the first African-American princess. I had to take my mother and sister to see this movie during opening weekend, because I believe that every black mother and their daughter(s) should see this movie with each other.
Directed by John Musker and Ron Clements (Little Mermaid, Aladdin), the movie sets in New Orleans during the Jazz Age (1920's), with a story about Tiana, a young black lower-class woman, working very hard to make her dream of owning an elaborate restaurant come true. But her aspiration is hindered when she meets a funny and awkward little frog who claims to be a prince and wants to be turned back into human again. The frog prince assumes that Tiana is a princess, and desires to kiss her to be turned back into human again. The frog kisses Tiana but turns her into a frog as well. Thus an adventure of finding how to get both of them back to humans commences.
Prior to the films release, many people were skeptical about many aspects of the film. The top two significances are the prince is not black and the setting, New Orleans. Many view the film to be racist because in order for the main protagonist of the film to be a princess, she has to be a frog first (which is not the case). The best advice to deal with these accusations towards the film is for viewers to go see the film first then make their judgements upon the evidence of the film. Conclusions should not be drawn until the complete viewing of the film.
Overall, and pass racial accusation that the film has, Princess and the Frog is a great movie. Wonderful music and fantastic storytelling. The film stars Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls), a Tony Award winning actress and Bruno Campoos (Nip/Tuck) a Brazilian-born actor who voiced for Prince Naveen in the film. Oprah Winfrey, Terrance Howard, John Goodman and Keith David, who plays the evil and demonic Dr. Facilier, are also featured in the film.
Yes, it is mainly a film for kids, but anyone who is a filmmaker or passionate about African-American history have to see this film, because it is certain that Princess and the Frog will be part of African-American History canon.
-Stefon Z. Bristol
Please check out the Trailer of the new Disney Princess movie!