I have wanted to make a post for a while now about why Tiana is the best princess and my personal favorite. For months I have written this post in my head and wanted to find a way to not just make it sound like me talking about my favorite princess. Tiana is strong, independent, very hard working and has truly inspired me to keep working hard for my own dreams. She has taught me that even when I think I might be doing enough to accomplish my dreams, there is always something more I could be doing.
However, in light of everything that has been going on with the Black Lives Matter movement, I have found a new direction for this post. One that praises Tiana, but also supports some of the incredible and beautiful black women who truly embody all that Tiana is.
When you watch Princess and the Frog, you can’t help but notice the massive difference in possible opportunity that Lottie has versus Tiana. Lottie lives in a mansion while Tiana lives in a rather small and cramped house. Lottie is given things while Tiana has to earn things. You see where Tiana grew up, you see how she grew up, but you also see her trying her best to rise above that. In the first scenes alone, you see just how hard Tiana works to make her and her dad’s dream come true of opening a restaurant. And although she may be loved and accepted by Lottie, Lottie still seems rather oblivious to her best friend’s struggles because she is too focused on climbing the social ladder.
Not to mention that not everyone believes that Tiana can overcome her adversity. When Mr. Fenner and Mr. Fenner show up to Lottie’s ball with the original intention of giving Tiana paperwork to sign to finally get her restuarant, they tell her that she has been outbid. Further their response is to tell her that it was probably best that she was outbid because “a little woman with [her] background would have had her hands full running a big business like that.” I think it’s pretty clear as day that they don’t mean to say that she isn’t business savvy enough but rather that her being black somehow hinders her ability to succeed. Every time I watch that scene I can’t help but scowl.
But as we know, by the end of the movie she makes her dream happen. And it wasn’t because she married some prince that solved her problems. No – it’s because she put in the work. (And it might have helped that Louis helped with a more “persuasive” approach..)
Like all Disney princesses, Tiana is a role model to many but especially to the community she represents. That being said there are so many beautiful and hard working black women in the Disney community who are being real life Tiana’s and I wanted to share a few of their stories.
Cree Michelle Rogers
As a little girl, I didn’t have very much representation. While there were black characters, a majority of the time they had only one gender represent both parties. So I ended up identifying with the tan girl or the one that wasn’t blonde. I didn’t realize it when I was younger, but I thought white was the default. I believed that white people could be anything and the only way I could live out my crazy daydreams was to be someone completely different than who I was. It inadvertently messed with my self-esteem. I’ve matured passed that to a certain point, but it hurts to look back and think about all the time I wasted wanting to be something that not only I would never be, but something that was so systemically ingrained into everyday life. Once I finally began to love my blackness, I decided to cosplay predominately black characters to bring awareness to what characters are out there for little girls that might be suffering like I did. I believe it is hard enough being a person. Everyone has insecurities. But to add on to that with racists notions of what the ideal beauty should look like, is something that I personally want to end for girls and boys of color growing up now.
What is your favorite part in Princess and the Frog that features Tiana and why?
My favorite part in the Princess in the Frog is when Tiana and Naveen are hungry in the swamp and she’s fighting her urge to eat a bug. Her line “There is no way I am kissing a frog and eating a bug, on the same day” ALWAYS cracks me up!
In the Disney community I am known as Diz Thru Brown Eyes. I am a soon to be 48 year old from Georgia. I started my blog (www.dizthrubrowneyes.com) in 2011 upon realizing there were a limited number of Black voices in the Disney online community. I wanted others to view Disney through my eyes. I share my travels to Disney Parks and merchandise finds on Instagram (@dizthrubrowneyes) and Twitter (@DizThruBrwnEyes).
I was asked to share my story, which is hard to know where to begin or what to include. I grew up in a small town in Georgia that had its prejudiced people and ways. My parents, who have been married for over fifty years, shielded my sister and I from some it. My town’s downtown area would close on Wednesdays at 12pm because hundreds of years before that is when slaves were sold. Proms were segregated until my senior year which made CNN headlines. Getting older, you notice racism more. I was asked to leave a temp position because I came to work one day with braids, followed around in a store, and hearing comments like “you talk like a white person”. Black Lives Matter is more than a fad. We are talking about life and death. I desire to feel safe, valued, and seen as an equal.
What makes Tiana the perfect role model for girls, young adults, and grown women of the black community?
Every little girl deserves to see someone that looks like them in books, on television, and in movies. Princess Tiana helped to fulfill that. She was determined to be self-sufficient and achieve her goals. Even when she was turned into a frog, Tiana kept going. Tiana demonstrated strength, intelligence, resourcefulness, patience, and so much more. As a huge fan of Princess Tiana, I want to see more of her on merchandise and at events. In 2017, I attended Tiana’s Riverboat Party held in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. It was like an intimate party with her and Prince Naveen. Princess Tiana deserves so much more and so do I.
My first name is Crystal, but I prefer to go by my middle name, Tala! I am 21 years of age and I currently live in Florida. My main social is @talalovesyou on Instagram. I also have an art account (@talalovesyouart).
I was born in a mixed family. My mother is middle eastern and my father is African American. When it comes to my appearance, people see me as a black woman. But since my parents are divorced, most of my upbringing has been with my mother.
Because of this, I don’t act entirely the same way as a person of color.
This has created an ongoing challenge for me. Since childhood, I had a hard time fitting in with my peers. White people would not accept me because of my skin color. And black people would not accept me because of my “white” mannerisms. So, I have always felt like an outsider and have had to work hard to find my place. This has encouraged me to depend and rely on myself to achieve my goals.
What do you think is the best one-liner that Tiana has in the movie and why?
As Tiana learned from her father, “Fairytales can come true. You gotta make em’ happen, it all depends on you.” That is why I feel connected to Tiana. She believed that she could create her own happily ever after through her hard work. I hope that my story helps others to learn that is great to have help from others, but you cannot rely on anyone to hand you your dreams. You have to put in the work and forge their own path.
I am hoping for a future where everybody has equal opportunities, regardless of where they came from or the color of their skin. I am hoping to live in a society where we are not judged by our appearances, but accepted for who we are.
Lorraine (Princess Indigo)
My name is Princess Indigo and I am a fairy living in the human world. As a human, I am called Lorraine and I am 40 years young. I live in Los Angeles, CA and have lived here my entire human life. Follow me on Instagram (@PrincessIndigosPalace) and Facebook (Princess Indigo’s Palace).
I have always loved fairy tales with “happily ever after” endings. They provided an escape for me when I needed it. I was a pretty happy child…at first. I went to a mostly white school until the 3rd grade. I was one of a handful of Black, Mexican, and Asian kids. I had friends, I had fun, and I don’t remember experiencing any racism at that time. But then my mother was laid off from her well paying job. We had to move. I had to go to a different school. This school was full of black children. I was thrilled to see an entire playground with children that looked like me. But I soon found out, we spoke completely different languages. The children teased me for not sounding or acting like them. I cried. Nearly every day I begged my mom to change my school. While she wanted to, she could not. 4th grade turned me into a shy reclusive kid. I assumed something was wrong with me because I was so different and none of the other kids would talk to me.
After that awful year, we moved again and my school changed. This school was about half black and half Mexican. While the teasing stopped, I still didn’t have many friends. I stayed to myself, afraid that if I spoke too much, I would be “found out”. However, I do remember an incident in which I was invited to play with children and we were picking characters we would pretend to be. I announced I would be “the princess”. Another child told me I couldn’t be a princess because “princesses aren’t black”. At the time, I was unfazed and I simply stated that my mom said I could be whatever I want to be and I wanted to be a princess! They didn’t argue but I wasn’t invited to play again after that. I remembered the incident years later and was saddened – not because they left me out after that, but because the child that believed princesses weren’t black…..was another black child….. A beautiful black girl, truly believed, that as a black person you couldn’t even PRETEND to be a princess. That still breaks my heart.
By 7th grade I made friends, or rather a group of Mexican girls befriended me. I was SO happy to have friends I could totally be myself with and they didn’t seem to think I was “different” or “weird”. In High School I made more black friends but I always had more Mexican friends because I wasn’t really into a lot of things that were considered “black” – the more I look back though, it wasn’t that I didn’t like “black” culture, I simply didn’t bother to follow POPULAR culture. Even today I don’t know who a lot of famous people are. I don’t really listen to the latest music, or watch the latest TV shows. I don’t even watch movies unless they are Disney movies! I stay close to my fairy tale things because that’s what make me happy.
As an adult, I have found my happiness in dressing up as a princess and other fairy tale characters for kid events and parties. Aside from the fact I love doing it, I feel it is my duty as a princess to be there for little brown girls and show them that there ARE magical beings that look just like them. I also remind all children that they possess the magic within them along with the power to make any and ALL of their dreams come true! I have been doing princess parties off and on for little girls on weekends for almost 14 years now.
When Disney announced “The Princess and the Frog” would feature their first black princess I was ecstatic! I have always loved Disney Princesses and now they had one that looked like me! I went on opening night to the midnight showing with friends. I loved the movie and I still do… despite Tiana being a frog for most of the for most of the film… After the movie came out I was booked nearly every weekend for a over a year. It is always so wonderful to see a little girl’s eyes light up at the sight of a princes that looks just like her. Representation is SO important for black children. Black children often see the worst aspects of their community in the media. Things have changed a lot since I was young but the issue still remains.
Why is Tiana an inspiration to you?
I love Tiana as a character. She’s sweet, hard-working, goal-oriented, driven, intelligent, beautiful and more. She’s the kind of woman that even if she had not married a prince, she would still have reached her goal. I have big dreams, too. I didn’t find a prince. But I know if I continue to work toward my goals, I will reach them. Tiana has her resturant, and some day I will have a brick and mortar palace. I have come so far. And as Tiana, would sing: “There ain’t nothing gonna stop me now! I’m almost there!”
I’m 31, and a resident of central Pennsylvania. The best place to find me is on Instagram (@CocoaSugarCosplay)!
When I was 11, my family moved from our diverse Philadelphia suburb to a small town in rural Pennsylvania. It was (and is) a predominantly white town. I was one of six black students in my graduating high school class, pretty much guaranteed to be the only black person in a classroom at any given time. That includes staff (my mother was the second black person hired by the school district, and my aunt was the first). It was an adjustment for sure. The people in the town were so unused to diversity that I doubt they realized how they sounded – it was fairly commonplace to hear things like “you speak so well” or “but you’re one of the good ones” or “oh, well I don’t mean you – you’re not ghetto”.
I’ve had kids ask me if I got warmer in the summertime because “black absorbs heat”, and a teacher declare to the class that “black people run faster because they have an extra bone in their feet” (mind you, I am terrible at sports and run a 12 min mile). There’s so much more I could say (and don’t get me started on hair). This is just a little of what I experienced, but don’t get me wrong – I had a happy upbringing. What a lot of white people don’t realize is that this is just everyday for us. You learn to accept it and live your life accordingly. I am blessed to have people I can vent to and laugh with that understand. But not everyone has this. That’s why I think it’s important to talk about this type of experience – a million microaggressions across a lifetime.
These past weeks, I’ve attended local Black Lives Matter protests. I didn’t expect much turnout in our small white town. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong. The community showed up in a way I hadn’t anticipated, and the amount of white allies in the crowd was really heartening to see. This movement feels different – I feel like our country is prime for change. We’ve already seen real tangible gains from this movement and we can’t stop. I urge people to continue this momentum. At my core, I am a hopeful person, and I truly believe that if we keep this up, keep this passion for justice, we can continue to make lasting change for the better for black lives in this country.
What do you think Tiana would be doing to support the BLM movement if she was living in 2020?
With her work ethic and leadership ability, I see Tiana as a protest organizer. She’d be there coordinating with volunteers, ensuring the safety of the protesters, making sure that people stay hydrated, and wear their masks.
I hope you all have found value in these ladies stories and keep encouraging them and others to make their dreams come true! The fight for equality isn’t over yet!
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