Real Life Princess Tiana’s

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

About her:

I am 28 years old and I live in Georgia! Follow me on Instagram (@Brown.Suga.Outlaw) and Facebook (@Brown.Suga.Outlaw). TikTok: @brown.suga.outlaw

Her story:

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!


Elantrice

About her:

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).

Her story:

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.


Tala

About her:

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).

Her story:

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)

About her:

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).

Her story:

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!”


Original design : Hannah Alexander Artwork
Photographer: @aoisenko

Maria (CocoaSugarCosplay)

About her:

I’m 31, and a resident of central Pennsylvania. The best place to find me is on Instagram (@CocoaSugarCosplay)!

Her story:

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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Crappy 2nd Anniversary to Me..

Deep breath, it’s time to revisit, Because it’s true what they say about breakups lasting more than a hot minute.

Now it’s weird to think that two years ago was the worst day of my life, But now that I’m thinking about it, I’m glad I went through all of that strife.

Maybe that sounds odd or maybe you agree, But at the end of the day if I never learned from my mistakes, then I wouldn’t be “me”.

There was a lot to learn both as individuals and as a couple, And trust me when I say that we had to get through a fair share of trouble.

Starting back up rocky was not what I wanted, Especially when I was just fine without him coming back with all that he flaunted.

He had lived a rather “adventurous” single life within those five months, So naturally I was prepared for the people that would cause our relationship bumps.

But I meant what I said last year about not putting up with shit, And yea you better believe that when it came time to show my backbone, he didn’t give me much lip.

Now I know that sounds like I might have become a dictator of our relationship, But I think we can all agree that there are some things that you just won’t let sit.

After we had time to clearly define how this relationship would be going, I’m happy to report that now we are both glowing.

But I do want to focus more about me and my personal growth, I can’t speak for him but honestly he might be the one who has grown the most.

Upon starting our new relationship I still wanted time to do my own thing, It was nothing against him, I had just sprouted an independent wing.

Quickly I found that apparently it’s weird to have a life without your boyfriend, Constantly hearing things like “you don’t act like you have another heart to tend.”

I’m sorry, but when did it become a requirement to do everything with one person?, I think most married couples can agree that too much time together can make things worsen.

What’s even more important is that I have found a love for just doing things on my own, “I don’t need no man” is more closely related to just how much a girl has grown.

Because the fact of the matter is that I don’t need Cody to feel like I can lead a fun or successful life, But I want to have him in it and maybe one day be his wife.

Gaining a relationship shouldn’t mean losing who you are, And I had to learn that lesson the hard way with a break-up that left a nasty scar.

The best thing I did for my relationship, whether it was with Cody or not, Was learning to be my own best companion – and that’s something I had to live through to be taught.

Because until I could learn to be everything for me, myself, and I, Cody stood no chance to be the one to get me by.

This past year I have learned to be better at going out without him all the time, Whether that be hitting the bars with my friends or taking myself out on my own dime.

Because before I would think that we had to do everything together, But now I understand that we can do things separately and that has made us better.

Even more importantly is that I have learned that it’s okay to stay home when he goes out, Because before I would begrudingly sit at home and pout.

I have better things to do with my time then feel compelled to be social when I’m not up for it, And I’ve learned to trust the decisions he makes even if I’m not around to see it.

Any way I slice it, it all comes down to one important factor, That I’ve learned to be more than just an extension of some eligible bachelor.

So I’m raising a glass to the dreadful breakup of June 29th 2018, What can I say, year two looks better on me – it’s my Crappy Anniversary.



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April OOPS Day

April Fool’s Day has been a day that we use as a way to give people a little spook in good-natured fun! Whether that’s a prank pop quiz from a teacher, putting a whoopee cushion under your dad’s favorite chair, or swapping your friend’s water with vodka. All of those and more seem harmless right? And if anything, these could easily be done on any other day of the week just to lighten the mood or have some fun!

But there are some jokes that go around that aren’t really jokes at all because they cause a large number of people, primarily women, to sink in to a dark reality. What is that “joke”? False pregnancy announcements.

For this blog, I interviewed one of my friends, Amanda, who unfortunately is someone who struggles with infertility and has been hurt by this kind of April Fool’s Day joke. The reason I want to write about it today is because up until being friends with Amanda, I would have never thought twice if I saw a pregnancy announcement only to later find out it was a joke. I’ll explain why below.


Donna (Me): Good afternoon, Amanda! So right off the bat, I have known you a pretty long time! Probably around 4 years I would say. I have watched you go through some insane times, and one of those was your journey with infertility. It wasn’t until we started becoming close friends that I learned just how painful April Fool’s Day can be for some people – especially those women and couples who are struggling to become pregnant with their own ray of sunshine.

I never realized just how many people struggle with infertility – it was never something I was taught in school! So April Fool’s Day to me was just a day. To me, it wasn’t really a day that could cause emotional pain. But you changed that perception and I want to help those people that may not know what kind of pain that playing a “joke” on April Fool’s Day might actually cause. I was uninformed, and I could have accidentally caused someone pain. You, however, have been educated on this for quite some time and I am hoping you can give more people information on the sort of do’s and don’ts of April Fool’s Day.

So first off, can you give me a little more information on why people shouldn’t joke about being pregnant on April Fool’s Day?

Amanda: First of all, I’m so excited to be on your blog! We’ve known each other through a screen for years and I’m glad to be able to share my story!

The thing that a lot of people don’t know is that 1 in 8 people struggle to get pregnant. And 1 in 4 women will have a miscarriage. These things aren’t talked about a lot so I’m glad to shed some light!

On April Fool’s, I’ve seen people post about being pregnant as a joke, or have insinuated it (there’s a “joke” that goes around every year about being pregnant with twins). What a lot of people don’t realize is that these jokes are incredibly hurtful for those of us who are just wishing they could get pregnant or have a successful pregnancy. I now have a 3 year old, but it took us 2.5 years to become pregnant with him. In those years, and to be honest a lot since having him, seeing pregnancy announcements can hurt. And to see people make a joke about something so many people want badly can be extremely hard. I’ve gone through many emotions when I see pregnancy announcements over the years, but it certainly isn’t something to joke about.

Me: Honestly those stats are shocking and it really is something I think more people, including sex-education classes, should talk about! I would like to think that people aren’t joking about this to intentionally hurt people. Do you think if this topic was discussed more that people wouldn’t joke about it?

Amanda: It’s astounding to me that I never learned anything about infertility growing up. Especially since it effects so many people. I’m sure that people would still joke but the number would be far less. And I don’t think people do these jokes to hurt people. It’s truly that they don’t know how it could effect other people! 

Me: That’s so true. So my last concern is that some people may just roll their eyes to this and say that those people that get offended need to stop being so emotional and just let a joke be a joke. I’m sure most people can sympathize with the hurt someone could feel with wanting to be a parent and not being able to. But for those people who don’t understand, can you explain a little further as to why this joke isn’t a joke? Maybe using your own journey as an example?

Amanda: From my own personal experience, and I know this sounds horrible, but I would be so angry and cry when I’d see yet another pregnancy announcement from an acquaintance on the internet. I would verbally say “why them? And why not me?” It literally cost us thousands of dollars to get pregnant with my son and from the outside, it seemed that no one else struggled and just took their pregnancy and straight miracle for granted. So when people would joke about being pregnant or make a “oh yeah I’m so glad we’re not having more cause that’d be a handful” it can be upsetting for those who would give anything just for a chance to have children. My heart has healed a lot in the past 3 years that I don’t feel so bitter towards pregnant people, but my heart does still sink a little bit seeing pregnancy announcements when we’re wanting and trying and praying so hard for another miracle that’s coming to everyone but us. I know how truly blessed we are with our son and if it’s just us 3, it’s more than I could ever ask for. But that want is still there.

Me: Do you have any other topics that you think we shouldn’t joke about based on people’s individual hidden struggles?

Amanda: I think really anything about disabilities should be avoided. Jokes are supposed to be funny. Making fun of a disability of any sort is not okay. There are so many tasteful jokes to make. I think with what’s going on in our world today, joking about being sick with the corona virus should also be avoided. It’s a real issue going on in our country. Stick to saying you won the lottery, putting a rubber band around the sprayer on your kitchen sink, and plastic wrap on the toilet. Messy, but won’t hurt anyone. 

Me: Great point! And VERY relevant to what we are dealing with right now! I really appreciate you taking some time to chat with me about this and I am hoping this information will be helpful to someone else who may not have known the impact of a possible joke. So thank you very much. And thank you for giving me a few new ideas on how to play a few jokes tomorrow!



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