Disney Offers Its First Black Princess and the Frog, but It's Still a Whitewash | Film Reviews | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Film Reviews

Disney Offers Its First Black Princess and the Frog, but It's Still a Whitewash

Six decades after unleashing persistent NAACP bugaboo Song of the South (1946), that peculiar cultural institution known as the Walt Disney Co. has made a symbolic reparation by creating its first African-American princess—and plunking her down in the middle of Jim Crow-era Louisiana! For most of The Princess and the Frog's running time, that "princess," Tiana (Anika Noni Rose), is actually a waitress pulling double shifts in Jazz Age New Orleans, trying to scrape together enough cash to open her own restaurant. Enter the visiting Prince Naveen of Maldonia (Bruno Campos), who finds himself transformed into the titular amphibian by a voodoo priest and convinces Tiana to kiss him as a way of reversing the spell — only, instead, she turns all ribbity too. They say it ain't easy bein' green, but it's certainly a hell of a lot easier than being black. So writer/directors Ron Clements and John Musker (whose 1992 Aladdin proffered a sinister, ear-cutting Middle East) send newly anthropomorphic Tiana and Naveen hopping off into the bayou, where the movie's rampant a-historicism gives way to a veritable Mardi Gras parade of risible stereotypes, including an Acadian firefly and a trio of toothless hillbillies. "It's only a kids' movie!" you may argue, which is precisely what makes The Princess and the Frog such an insidious whitewash.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Scott Foundas
Contact: Scott Foundas

Latest Stories