Saturday, November 18, 2017

I have to be frank. When I heard about Disney making The Princess and the Frog, and selecting the main character to be African American, I was apprehensive. There was so many things that could go wrong.  There was so many things that could happen to not allow this Princess to be accepted in the long list of Disney Princesses.

And so the year 2009 came, and I went to the theaters to see this version of the Disney's African American Princess.

And I came out of the theater... Very Disappointed.

I am a fan of the fantasy element, the magic, the Happily Ever After, the True Love and True Kiss. It's what makes Disney... well... magical.  But this film.... This film tried to make things, forgive the urban or slang usage.. "keeping it real".

I'm sorry. I don't like "real" when it comes to magic and for the impossible to becoming possible. I wanted the same Princess that I read about in the Frog Prince tales, with a twist, like all the other Princesses.

But Disney's choice for this story made it much too singular, and thus making it not as globally accepted as it should have been.  I mean... New Orleans? Come on. Not everyone is familiar with the culture, nor is everyone universally into that type of unique sounding music. Personally, there is just a few zydeco music I would listen to. As for the Jazz, there are quite a lot of universally accepted Jazz out there, accepted for the Jazz in this film. I mean, who hasn't heard of Funny Valentine's breathy and sexy song? But the Jazz choices for this film? It made the story too isolated to one place, and selected to just one type of people. At least, that was the way it was presented.

Let's look at a different way of presentation....

There was Moana that represented the Pacific Islanders, Lilo and Stitch for Hawaii, and Mulan for China, Pocahontas for Native Americans, Jasmin from Aladdin for India, and not to mention The Lion King for Africa, though not with a lead female character, yet still in the cultural mix. And ALL of these films were universally accepted.

All of these films where presented in a way that held a story and music that could be accepted by a large population of people and yet Tiana....felt... isolated.

I haven't heard a single song from The Princess and the Frog that was played over-and-over again like those other cultural Disney movies I just listed above. I mean the other films had songs that became popular hits! In The Princess and the Frog, every song was almost forgettable. Its songs were missing that true heart of music. The kind that sinks into the human soul like, A Whole New World, Colors of the Wind, Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride, and Reflection.

And I know Disney knows the magical formula to reach the hearts of people through music. It just wasn't conjured up for the The Princess and the Frog,

But what was REALLY disappointing about this Disney film, was that Tiana was not a REAL PRINCESS!!!! Nor was her Prince (Prince Naveen) of the same cultural background, but just thrown in to represent "brown". Tiana does become a princess through marriage, like Cinderella and Belle, but Prince Naveen, initially, is looking for a "princess," but not of royal lineage, to kiss him and change him back from frog to human. A Princess of Mardi Gras? This was about a parade, a grand city party! Not a land and people. Not a Princess of bloodline, but one who was voted in for a moment in time.

I'm assuming this decision to have to "keep things real" is why the Frog Princess wasn't provided a real princess title.  I figure this reasoning was so that the low income can easily and readily identify with her. But for me, we already have Cinderella and Belle stories for that.

The Princess and the Frog could have been done with magic, and a real Princess title, along with a plot twist in the story to make the heroine a strong woman, who matches her man of choice, be it prince or otherwise. The original Frog Princess was spoiled, and we could have started with that. A Princess who had everything, took it for granted, looses everything (dirt poor), and then had to work her way back to the top, with obstacles thrown in her way. Then, after overcoming these trials and tribulations, only then would she become a deserving Princess, who has learned to share her golden ball.

Like Once Upon A Time's version in Season 7.

I am SO GLAD, this show came to correct, and make a better story, for Tiana than the animated version.  We will now have a Princess (played by Mekia Cox) who will earn our respect, who starts a path seeking help from others, until then finding the strength inside herself to become her own hero. Not to mention, she also doesn't spend most of her time being a frog, but actually helps a frog (one who is being blackmailed by the use of his imprisoned True Love), who was the one needing saving, to become a stronger person.
And...and...and... and...and... She Is Actually A REAL PRINCESS!!!!

A Princess who's very large dreams are crushed, but then are stitched back together, and slowly becomes a reality--with hard work and the strong support of loving friends.This is the type of story that every little girl can relate to, and learn from, to become the "Princess" in her own life. And THAT'S how you "keep it real".

Thank You SO MUCH, Once Upon A Time!!!!!!

I write this blog because things are now right in this world, and I can now enjoy an African descent Princess of Disney.

So, now Disney, can we have a African Disney Prince? No? Yes? Or perhaps I'm asking for too much. Heh. Heh.  I just may have to settle for The Black Panther (T'Challa). Grrrr!