Posted on September 24, 2018

Disney Forced To Redraw Its First Black Princess After Campaigners Claimed Her Skin Had Been ‘Whitened’

Abe Hawken, The Sun (UK), September 23, 2018

Disney has been forced to redraw its first black princess after campaigners claimed her skin had been “whitened” for her latest film.

Princess Tiana became the company’s first black princess when she was created for The Princess and The Frog nine years ago.

But fans awaiting the release of new movie Wreck It Ralph 2 noticed the character’s skin was lighter and her hair was straighter in the film’s trailer.

Anti-racism charity Color of Change immediately set up a petition and contacted Disney regarding her new look.

The organisation said she looked “nothing” like her original character and said she now had a “slimmer” nose and “loose curly hair”.

It said the new depiction was “unacceptable” and accused Disney of “not caring” about the “diversity of the Black community”.

Their official petition read: “The whitewashed image of Tiana you created for your new film, Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck It Ralph 2, is unacceptable.

“You have removed Princess Tiana’s full lips, wide nose, dark skin and kinky hair and replaced them with Eurocentric features — a slimmer nose, loose curly hair and significantly lighter skin tone.

“These characteristics are a huge part of who Princess Tiana is and what makes her beautiful.

“Princess Tiana is a pivotal Disney character, and it is irresponsible of you to change her appearance considering all of the young Black girls and boys who watch and love Princess Tiana.

“Princess Tiana your first and only Black princess. Young Black girls and boys look up to her, and are excited to finally have a Disney princess who looks like them.

“They are able feel their culture and racial identity are valued in society, and better internalize their racial identity, all as a result of Princess Tiana.”

Disney later released a new image following the outrage and the princess could be seen with darker skin again.

Brandi Collins-Dexter, Color of Change’s senior campaign director, was delighted with the new drawing and said it was a “victory” for the charity.

She said: “Disney’s decision to restore Princess Tiana’s image to that of an unapologetically Black princess with full lips, dark skin and dark hair … is a victory for Color Of Change members, Black children and their parents, and Black audiences who want to see the variety of shades, shapes and sizes of Black characters accurately represented in the arts.”

Rashad Robinson, the CEO of Color of Change, tweeted: “Big news. Because of COC members and convos with @DisneyAnimation, Princess Tiana has been restored to her original depiction.

“Now when Black girls watch #WreckItRalph2, they’ll see Tiana and other princess of color that actually looks like them on screen #BlackGirlMagic.”

The Sun Online has contacted Disney for comment.