Monday, November 30, 2009

A Princess For My Princess

It is almost a year ago to the day that I searched for a doll that resembled my caramel-cocoa princess. My daughter, who was two at the time, had major fits each day as I combed her hair. See…she has a head full of thick and long hair, and a mommy who did not know what to do with it. She was miserable…I was miserable. It was honestly stressful! Searching for a solution, I recalled a toy that I had when I was younger. Do you remember the Barbie “head” that you used to play with? You could comb her hair and paint lipstick on her… Yeah that one! I figured if I could get one for my daughter, she would be distracted as she combed its hair while I struggled through hers. Issue solved! Not so much…

Enter problem…..I wanted a Barbie head that resembled my lil’ pumpkin. Up and down the aisles I went to all the different department stores and toy retailers. No brown dolls. I even exclaimed to a well-intentioned teenage attendant “This is Atlanta! How could you not sell African American dolls?” Fast forward to last year. My daughter asked for a Princess Tea themed birthday party. I went all out with the d├ęcor and costumes for her and her adorable friends. Everything seemed to be in order. That is, until I tried to find a princess themed cake. The local grocery store had pages upon pages of different cake designs with all the Disney princesses. Yet, none of them looked like my Princess.

This year it looks like there may be an abundance of dolls and merchandise for me to choose from because the Disney movie titled “The Princess and the Frog” will hit theaters nationwide on December 11th. I can’t wait to see it, and if appropriate…I can’t wait to take my baby girl. However, apparently not everyone shares in my excitement.

Almost as soon as executives announced that they would be bringing the story to the big screen, parts of the public began to complain. There was criticism that the main character was slated to be a maid called “Maddy.” The name, many felt, was too close to ethnic slur “Mammy.” Disney quickly made adjustments, and now the princess is called Tiana, and is a chef. Yet, dissent again emerged when it was revealed that Tiana’s prince was not seemingly African American.

Hmmm….I’m not sure what to make of this criticism because I feel that overall this movie may be a positive thing for all children…especially those of color. Sure, if allowed to script it myself I might have made some adjustments. However, I am just happy that my daughter will have the opportunity to see someone who looks like herself being described as a beautiful princess for once.

So here’s my question…. Does Disney deserve all this controversy? Or, are people just nitpicking. You decide! Watch the video and cast your vote in the LEFT margin:)!

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