Via TheDailyMail:While some have hailed Disney’s decision as a reflection of melting pot America, others say the company is sending out a mixed message. Although the black princess’s love interest in the new animated musical is called Prince Naveen of Maldonia and is voiced by a Brazilian actor, he looks more white than black in photographs from the film that Disney have released.
Since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, all of Disney’s princesses have predominantly been white.
A native Indian princess was featured in Pocahontas and Jasmine in Aladdin had a Middle Eastern appearance. The race row hasn’t yet hit the mainstream because the film’s release date isn’t until late in the year, but Internet chat rooms and blogs have been abuzz with complaints.
One disappointed fan wrote (sic): ‘I think it’s sad that he is white because its saying that black love isn’t good enough and that black men could never be princes. ‘Disney had the perfect chance to make its first black prince, but instead it decided to go the controversial route.’
Another complained (sic): ‘I am very disappointed and I wished Disney had made the prince black,(and the ironic thing is the prince in the movie is white but the evil voodoo villain is voiced by a black actor and is black).’ Since announcing their plans for the first black princess in 2006 the production of Hollywood studio’s 49th animated film has been dogged by racial controversy.
Originally called The Frog Princess, its heroine was to be a chambermaid called Maddy working for a spoilt white debutante in 1920s New Orleans.
But the storyline sparked a backlash from critics who claimed it reinforced prejudice and demeaned black people.
The princess’s original name was perceived by some to be a stereotypical ‘slave name’ and she was also a maid working for a wealthy white boss, which was criticised as being racially insensitive.
Even the New Orleans setting for the film was questioned as it had overtones of voodoo and slavery.
Disney has insisted its choice of a black princess was part of a policy to give characters as much diversity as possible.