Disney will debut its first black princess later this year but critics already have their knives out – because the prince is white. Princess Tiana and many other characters in animation are African-American but Prince Naveen is not, leading to complaints that Disney has missed out on the opportunity for a fairytale ending with a black couple. Others have hailed Disney’s decision to have an inter-racial romance as a reflection of melting pot America, reports The Daily Mail, but not everyone is happy.
Some say the company is sending out a mixed message in The Princess and The Frog by having a white love interest – Prince Naveen of Maldonia who is voiced by a Brazilian actor. One fan wrote on an internet forum: "I think it’s sad that he is white because its saying that black love isn’t good enough and that black men could never be princes." "Disney had the perfect chance to make its first black prince, but instead it decided to go the controversial route."
The film is an adaptation of the classic tale The Frog Prince, now set in 1920s New Orleans. Prince Naveen is turned into a frog by a voodoo magician and asks Princess Tiana to kiss him in order to break the spell. Unluckily for them, she turns into a frog too and the pair must fight to reverse the spell as they fall in love.
The Princess and The Frog has been dogged by controversy from the beginning with the princess’ original name being criticised as being a stereotypical ‘slave name’ and the New Orleans setting being questioned for its links to voodoo and slavery. The original plot line about a chambermaid called Maddy working for a spoilt white debutante was also slammed for being racially insensitive.
Source: Metro UK