Posted on August 20, 2018

“Whitewashing” Princess Tiana

Matthew Wright, Daly Mail, August 18, 2018

Fans of Disney’s Princess Tiana are in a frenzy after she appeared whitewashed in the second trailer for Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.

The Princess and the Frog heroine appeared in the trailer that was released last week, making a cameo with other notable princesses in sleepover scene.

Tiana is Disney’s first African American princess and in her own origin movies, favors actress Anika Noni Rose — who voices her in the films.

In one June trailer for the Ralph second installment, Tiana stills favor the animated version with a rounder nose and her locks done up in a press-and-curl updo. She sported a similar look in her own movie

But according to Tiana’s fans and black animators on social media, the second trailer features a Tiana who looks vastly different than she initially did.

Sleepover Tiana appears to don lighter skin, a narrower nose and her ‘natural’ hair doesn’t resemble black natural hair or what a vast majority of black women do with their hair at bedtime.

Having had her hair in a press-and-curl means that Tiana would actually have to apply moisture to her hair so that it could exist in a natural state. Otherwise, Tiana would have her hair wrapped in an effort to protect it — mostly with a bonnet or scarf.

Bonnets, durags and hair caps/scarves are often worn at nighttime and offer protection against bedding, hair breakage, the loss of moisture, hair texture protection and hair ‘setting’ durability.

The noticeable changes drew fury on social media, with one user who stated: ‘How did Tiana go from looking like a teen Anika Noni Rose to Zendaya?’

Another added: ‘In today’s edition of ‘you tried it,’ Disney decided to reinforce colorism by lightening Princess Tiana’s skin in #RalphBreaksTheInternet. Tiana was a dark skin Black woman in Princess and the Frog, now she has light skin and Eurocentric features. What happened to her wide nose?

That same user highlighted the change in the character’s skin color for their next post.

‘What makes this all the more infuriating is the fact that previous images from #RalphBreaksTheInternet featured the original dark skinned Tiana. That means that someone at Disney went well out of their way AFTERWARD to redesign Tiana with lighter skin and Eurocentric features.’

The sentiment was shared by others who posted the photos, with one user who said: ‘why does princess tiana look so different from the wreck it ralph trailer we got 2 months ago to today’s new still……….let me know.’

Animator Taylor Goeth shared an illustration of what Tiana would potentially looked like if she were to wear a bonnet while getting ready for sleep.

Goeth explained: ‘All in all this is what I feel a more culturally accurate Tiana should look like in the photo.’

Cartoonist Spike Trotman shared similar grievances and posted a photo of Tiana from the movie and a satin scarf.

The bestselling author stated: ‘For the benefit of folks who might wanna do better: if Image One is a kinky-haired black girl’s formal look? Image Two, or something like it, has a a 99.9% chance of being her “lounge look.”‘

Perhaps the biggest indicator as to why the movie has dropped the ball for various Twitter users, comes in the form of a gif that was posted showing Disney animators as they celebrated finishing the movie.

The quick gif pans across the room to shows mostly white men with a few people of color sprinkled in the mix. There appears to be no women in the room.

Disney has yet to comment on the perceived changes and issues with the hair.

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 hits theaters on November 21.