Disney has received both praise and acclaim for its films. However, Disney has also received backlash due to its lack of inclusion in animated films. Case in point: Princess Tiana. Disney’s first black princess, who was introduced in the acclaimed 2009 animated film The Princess and the Frog, reappears in Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet, the sequel to Wreck-It Ralph. However, fans of Tiana can breathe a sigh of relief, as the Disney has been restored to her original depiction.
Big news. Because of COC members and convos with @DisneyAnimation, Princess Tiana has been restored to her original depiction. Now when Black girls watch #WreckItRalph2, they’ll see Tiana and other princess of color that actually looks like them on screen #BlackGirlMagic pic.twitter.com/4ZPJm4aZyz
— Rashad Robinson (@rashadrobinson) September 20, 2018
In a Twitter post by Color of Change President Rashad Robinson, it was made known that conversations between Color of Change and Disney spurred the restoration of Tiana’s original depiction. When the first-look photos for Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet premiered online, many people rightfully criticized the creators at Disney for its depiction of Tiana. If you can’t recall, Tiana was depicted as a much lighter-skinned Disney princess with lighter skin, a slimmer nose and curly hair, a far cry from her prior appearance.
In a statement received by Shadow and Act, Color of Change’s Brandi Collins-Dexter said, “Disney’s decision to restore Princess Tiana’s image to that of an unapologetically Black princess with full lips, dark skin and dark hair in Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 is a victory for Color Of Change members, Black children and their parents, and Black audiences who want to see the variety of shades, shapes and sizes of Black characters accurately represented in the arts. After the release of a set of images from Wreck-It Ralph 2, which showed Princess Tiana starkly different from her depiction in Princess and the Frog – a slimmer nose, loose curly hair and a significantly lighter skin tone- Color Of Change engaged in a series of conversations with the leading members of Disney’s animation team to address why these changes shocked and hurt our community. Because of these conversations, Disney restored Tiana and the other princesses of color to their original depiction. By redrawing Princess Tiana – Disney’s first and only Black princess — in Ralph Breaks the Internet as she was in Princess and the Frog, Disney has shown its commitment to addressing the concerns of Color Of Change members and the Black community. Disney is an incredibly powerful and influential company and its decisions have far-reaching implications for other companies that provide entertainment for children and adults around the world. Color Of Change will continue to challenge companies like Disney to ensure that their characters appropriately reflect the diversity of their audiences.”
The deliberate erasure of black girls in animation is nothing new, with Pixar franchise The Incredibles recently garnering criticism for not showcasing Frozone’s (Samuel L. Jackson) wife Honey (Kimberly Adair Clark) outside her voice.