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The trouble with Disney’s first African-American princess
Accusations of racism sends cartoonists back to the drawing board.
 

What happened
Disney’s latest animated film The Princess and the Frog: An American Fairy Tale, which has a Dec. 25, 2009 release date, is the studio’s 48th animated movie and its first to feature an African-American heroine.

What the commentators said

Disney can’t win,” said Arifa Akbar in The Independent. At first, its “African-American heroine was hailed as a positive role model for little girls.” Now it’s facing a chorus of accusations reminiscent of 1993, when some Muslims protested that "Aladdin depicted the Middle East as barbaric.”

This movie was bound to stir controversy, said The Animation Guild’s blog. “The main characters are black and most or all of the story and production crew is white.” But at least Disney has listened to complaints and has been making changes to the film. Then again, “studios are not in the habit of offending wide swaths of the ticket-buying and DVD-purchasing public.”

“People really need to cut Disney some slack,” said the blog Mousevine. It’s “not surprising” that the studio “should stumble” a little its first time. What we want to know is why it took so long to feature an African-American heroine in an animated film?

 

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