By Bill Matthews
Naysayers question how Disney would dare center an animated movie around a black woman
(HOLLYWOOD) Disney has done it this time, making a movie about an African-American princess who doesn’t conform to the individual ideals of every black person in this country.
Critics say the portrayal of Tiana in The Princess and the Frog shows that Disney is not only racist, but evil. That the critics haven’t seen the movie is irrelevant, they say. About a minute of footage has been released, as well as stills–enough, they say, to formulate a complete assessment.
“She wears a perm. That’s saying our natural hair isn’t beautiful,” said Alandra Mitchell, a film critic who has dreadlocks. “They should have asked me what I thought.”
“The prince is lighter than she is. What’s that say about black men? Sure, Boris Kodjoe is fine, and we come in all shades, but to be truly black, a character can’t be any lighter than Denzel Washington,” said cultural critic Hensley Jameson, who notes that he is darker than Washington. “They should have asked me what I thought.”
“Have you heard the firefly talk? He sounds like Uncle Remus. Black people don’t be talking like that no more,” said Wilhemina Forrest, a minister in Waverly, Ga., who, in fact, does sound a little like Prissy from Gone With the Wind. “They should have asked me what I thought.”
Tiana is Disney’s first African-American princess. Other movies have portrayed white characters like Snow White or Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Native American, Chinese and Arabic princesses have also had lead roles.
Disney felt the time had come for a black princess.
“We’ve been making movies since Steamboat Willie in 1929. After 80 years, we felt it was finally OK to do something that focused on black people,” said Disney executive Kristin McMurphy. “Plus, with Obama in the White House, it was time to replace old black stand-ins like the crows from Dumbo and the jive-talking monkeys from The Jungle Book.”
Some critics say it’s insensitive to set the movie in New Orleans–an obvious, unforgivable slight since the city had a hurricane four years ago and an animated film will only make things worse. Others are angry that Tiana spends much of the movie as a frog.
“Why does the black princess have to be a frog the whole time? Are they saying black people should be green instead of black?” wondered Shirley Wilson, a waitress at Rob’s diner who plans to boycott the movie. “They should have asked me what I thought.”
Anika Noni Rose gives voice to Tiana, while Oprah Winfrey plays her mother. Disney consulted with Winfrey on racial aspects of the movie, figuring she would have valuable insight since most blacks are billionaires who own production companies.
Winfrey said she’s satisfied with Disney’s due diligence.
“They asked me what I thought. That’s most important,” she said. “And you have to applaud them for finally having their first African-American princess. Sadly, though, given all the complaining folks are doing without even seeing the movie, Tiana will probably be Disney’s last black princess.”
Note: This article is satire, brought to you by the creative minds at The Peoples News.
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