First Look at The Princess and the Frog

Disney’s The Princess and the Frog will open nationwide for Christmas 2009, but a little teaser just hit the internet. Just wanted to share with you all — the last time I wrote about this film, quite a few of you were excited. And some were understandably ambivalent — given Disney’s history we all should be a little wary, at the very least.

I know so many women who give Disney movies and Barbie dolls a wide berth, because of the negative impact their depictions of women can impart unto young girls. But as a little bella who grew up on white Disney princesses and blond Barbies, I know how much this would have meant to me as a young un. I definitely am planning on taking a closer look come next Christmas, and I’m trying… TRYING to withhold judgment until I see the whole cartoon. It’s hard, though. Thoughts, bellas?

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Comments

  1. I just don’t get why all the characters in this little teaser have to be so “blackened up” – if you know what I mean. The frog’s lips, the crickets speech… seems so unnecessary to me.

  2. Wow, the “cajun” toothless lightning bug (firefly) is a little disturbing. I’m intrigued, but not excited about the movie. We’ll see just how “black” they get.

  3. i think its too soon to tell anything. so far it looks cute to me.

  4. I am guessing that southern stereotypes are fair game for this flick… and I’d love to hear from anyone who’s from the south. Does the firefly make you mad? I’d definitely be feeling some kinda way if he was Caribbean like Sebastian from The Little Mermaid…

  5. You can be mad at the toothless firefly or you can take it with a grain of salt and hope they didn’t mean anything by it. As far as the frog’s lips, I’m completely ok with that. I took it more as “KISS ME” and not “ohh look at my big Black folk’ lips.”

  6. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    Finally a princess that my niece can relate to.I am not going to even start slinging mud at the movie beefore I get to see the whole thing.

  7. It looks so cute although I did like the earlier prototype of the princess. I’m actually very excited about this!

  8. I’m glad that my mom made it a point that we had a variety of barbies, mostly black, to play with. I used to wonder why my folks weren’t big on Disney cartoons (I don’t think I saw full length cinderella until I was an adult), but I figured it out as I grew older. I liked the preliminary sketch, too, but I’ll wait and see.

  9. I agree with dee, the lip thing seemed more like “kiss me” than “big lips” because when he wasn’t trying to kiss her, he looked like a lipless cartoon frog. I’ll have to see more before I judge. I can see where people who aren’t feeling Disney movies are coming from, and I almost always buy black dolls for my kids, but today I don’t see where Disney exclusively targets African/Caribbean characters for overemphasization of supposed physical/cultural characteristics. Look at Tito on Charlie & Company, and there are others. I think I’m going to just chill and see the whole movie before I decide how I feel.

  10. Looks cute!!! And the “flying” bug sounds very cajun! LOL

  11. I have been so excited about this for years!! However, I am a little wary of the “southern stereotypes” (as another poster already mentioned) and the fact that she just has to be from a place that people usually associate with blacks. Why can’t she be a fabulous BAP from L.A. or Chicago or New York? Or even some made-up land like Snow White and most of the others? Then again, NOLA has such an incredible history of music, which is what Disney films are all about, that if they do it well she may even be a Southern Belle we can be proud of! Either way, I will definitely be at the theatre on opening night! I don’t really care where she’s from as long as she’s strong, smart, beautiful and independent like most of the other Disney princesses. That’s why I’m such a huge fan of Miyazaki films, the main characters are always strong girls.

    k.a.t.calvin
    http://www.bapworld.com

  12. Looks cute. I’ll wait to judge when I see it in its entirety. As for the firefly, Sebastian was overdone too. Maybe it’s just a cute way to show the characters and not meant to be offensive? I’m sure all princes don’t ride horses everywhere, fight with swords, and wear their prince gear all of the time, but Disney depicts them that way most of the time.

  13. I think it looks cute so far, even the accents I am ok with. But the toothless bug is a bit disturbing to me.

  14. OK, I read the blog you linked to… OMG! So, ignore my comment. I’ll be watching with eyes WIDE open!

  15. It was totally cute until…

    …the firefly.

    Like, I know it’s small, but could he at least have his teeth?

    *sigh*

  16. That clip makes me feel a bit queasy.

  17. What wrong with being a southern black?

    I’m sorry BAPs from LA, NYC, Chi-town, etc have some not so flaterring stereotypes as well.

  18. I’m really more concerned that the trailer didn’t really give me a clue as to what the actual movie is about. But maybe because it’s not going to be released until the end of next year(!), maybe it’s too soon to tell. Anyone get the feeling that this is the cartoon version of the black Vogue Italia? I wonder how much things will change by the time this movie comes out?

  19. well I only have sons. But garunteed I will take them to see this so I can watch it. I wil just throw in my friends daughters as a disguise.
    I am soooo interested to see this animation. Untill then cannot really comment. been reading about it for a while now

  20. Okay…so, maybe it is because I’m a New Yorker, and perhaps I’m just not sensitive to people poking fun at accents, because people seem to poke fun at the New York accent all the time, that I didn’t see anything really wrong with the firefly except what several people mentioned about it not having teeth.

    Other than that? I cannot WAIT to see this movie! I have always wanted there to be a Black Disney Princess. I only wish I had a daughter to take to see it. I’ll have to offer to bring a cousin or two…

    I just hope that in the next year or so that they market the heck out of this movie like Disney does everything else.

  21. I was so-so until I got to the firefly, at which point I groaned.

  22. It’s sad that out of all the African (across the whole diaspora) fables and fairytales they could have created, that it’s 2008 and they’re just now getting around to creating a movie centered around Black characters (Aladdin and The Lion King do not count!). It took them long enough, but I am happy to finally see it. At least my 4-year-old niece and future generations get to see and be affected positively by this.

    http://www.GangstarrGirl.com

  23. jasmine the jigsaw says:

    I can’t wait to see the movie…and I hope that when it comes out we can actually enjoy it and not end up picking it to pieces!

  24. I personally blame Disney for all my romantic notions. :-) I am still waiting for my prince.

    I think the frong was fine. I am/was sooo excited for this movie. I will agree that the whole fly thing threw me off; I didn’t think it was necessary. However, I know that his voice and “toothlessness” (LOL) is not exclusive to black people in New Orleans. So maybe they just thought they were doing a “poor” charatcer instead of a black one. Can you tell I really want to love this movie?

  25. We don’t “do” Disney Princesses in our house. A couple of brown Barbies snuck in this year via bday gifts, but they’ll be MIA soon.

    I agree, the firefly’s toothlessness is a little disturbing, but the accent doesn’t bother me. He sounds like a combo of Harry Connick, Jr., Little Wayne & a couple of old college friends. Most people I’ve known from that area have a distinct sound. Besides, he’s just the narrator & could be white for all we know.

    The princess is brown & beautiful & sounds like me so I’m okay with that. No matter what they do, there will be criticism. Maybe Spike Lee or Eddie Murphy or Ice Cube or Oprah or someone should’ve made a movie with a brown princess before Disney finally decided to make one so we wouldn’t need to take a notepad to analyze every point. Goodness knows they had enough time to do it while we waited on Disney do make one “for us”.

    Anyway, I can’t wait until it comes out. Maybe we’ll even visit the parks in the hopes of catching a glimpse of Princess Tiana.

  26. HeavenLeiBlu says:

    I will withhold my opinion on the clip, because I haven’t watched it yet. Before I do, I just want to say that I honestly don’t care much one way or the other about the movie. I wasn’t really into much of the whole Disney thing, and couldn’t relate to the princess stories created by them or anyone else. As far as Black Barbies are concerned, yeah I always had a few… non Black dolls, period weren’t allowed in my mother’s or grandparent’s home.

    This isn’t even on my daughter’s radar. The couple years I spent buying dolls and that sort of thing were absolutely wasted on her; by the time she was 10, she had the best arm in the 5 block radius, and all the boys wanted her on their football team(however, basketball is her primary sport, these days); so she relates to princess tales the same way that a modern day Maori would relate to someone from the Elizebethan era.

    With all that said, this movie will get more than it’s fair share of eye-rolling in my household, for one reason or the other, but we WILL add it once it’s released on Netflix, for sh*ts and giggles.

  27. Being from the south, and having close connections to the New Orleans area, I’m ok with the accents. I get the toothless firefly, but I don’t like it. Otherwise, I’m looking forward to seeing the movie.

  28. Soon2Graduate says:

    How about:
    1) the fact that this movie is set in the 1920s, the Jim Crow era, LA??
    2) the prince is a white character?

    hmmm….

  29. ok, i like this version of the princess better than the one that was shown earlier, the toothless bug is a bit much,but i will still go check this movie out. honestly it’s taken disney more than 50 years to even put a black character on (though i consider jasmine from aladdin black) and the fact that it took them that long should tell you somehing…overall, i’m excited to see what the movie is all about and i will suppor anika and the other members of the cast, besides i’m kin of tired of all the compuer animated cartoons anyway!

  30. oh other note…has anyone read mustafa’s two beautiful daughters? it is one of my favorite fairy tales…maybe disney should’ve looked into that story for a full blown movie.

  31. afrobello says:

    They want us to think they’ve come a long way since Song of the South, but just can’t hide their real selves with that bug!

  32. timarasa says:

    exactly, soon2graduate! heard the same on an npr news & notes discussion last week. apparently disney had to make a lot of changes b/c quite a few black viewers didn’t respond too kindly to certain [i.e. stereotypical] elements that were incorporated into the movie…however they kept the white prince. maybe they are trying to make a socially forward statement of interracial love in the backdrop of 1920s new orleans; fine, but it’s not like Disney films are overflowing with positive black male characters either. the fact that it’s set in the jim-crow south doesn’t bother me too much. it could be instructive especially for kids since there seems to be selective but collective amnesia regarding this period of time in current discussions of race relations. but it’s disney, so we’ll see :o)

  33. timarasa says:

    also to clarify i meant “critics” and not “viewers”, obviously since the movie hasn’t been made yet :o) for details about the original storyboard and discussion:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92822366

  34. I refuse to read too much into this; it’s a Disney movie and everything doesn’t have to picked apart or put on the racial meter. I’m excited to see this movie and love that it was set in Louisiana.

  35. Interesting; I really hope this film doesn’t disappoint – I’m willing to reserve full judgement until it comes out.

    However, I WISH the firefly didn’t have those snaggly, ‘backwoods’ teeth. Why couldn’t he just be a firely with a lovely cajun accent? Why the teeth? Ah well.

    As for th efrog, he’s just trying to force th epoint that she need to kiss him on the lips and the lips alone.

  36. Disney is too dirty for me to get giddy over this movie, and the plethora of mostly white crtitics who have gotten indignant over the EXISTANCE of a black princess pretty much killed my spirit. Honestly, ya’ll wont believe how many rude comments I have seen on mostly white blogs where they have an issue with there being a black princess, claiming that black people need to “get over it” (I think we’ve ALL been subjected to the “get over it” line by now).The lyrics to the Disney songs are probably more offensive than the actual caricatures though, but I guess pretty much every minority group in America has been made fun of by Disney, Arabs, Native Americans,Asians, and Blacks.

    Though my spirt has been demolished by racists, I’m still going to let my daughter see this movie, and yeah…it is weird that this movie takes place in the SOUTH during JIM CROW and her prince is white. I guess Disney was just tryna kill two birds with one stone.

  37. Lima: What difference would it have made if a Black celebrity made the movie “for us”? It still wouldn’t hold historical weight and would probably mean less to Blacks if they did it anyway. Disney has a history of either leaving black people out or depicting them as fools, this is the FIRST time where Disney makes a black person into something other than a crow or monkey, which is why it is so important. Besides, if Spike Lee were to have made this movie or one like it, it would be popular in the black community and ONLY the black community.Disney is international and is considered cannon, a lot of people view Ice Cube, and Spike Lee as gangsters or “too-black” Black people, oh and where I live, because Oprah supports Barack…she’s “too-black” now, as well.

  38. Marcie — yes, I have read Mustafa’s Two Beautiful Daughters, and also to my two daughters. Lovely book. There’s also a fabulous version of Rapunzel which I canNOT remember right now. I make a real effort to read stories about beautiful and strong black American/African women. I lean much more towards those because that’s who look like the females in my house, but we read/look at stories about white, Asian, Native American, Hispanic, Indian, etc., princesses/heroins because queens and princesses come in all colors, not that I’m trying to get too “kumbaya” with the whole thing.

  39. I didn’t, however, realize the prince was white. I’m not really feeling that part very much at all — can’t we have a positive love story without the female/male leaving/dying on the big screen between black people in even an animated film???? — but I probably will still go see the movie. I’m kinda tired of these films where a white man swoops in and makes it all better or whatever for a black woman, because I assure you that is not always how the story goes. It would have been wonderful to see a black prince!

  40. berrybrowne says:

    i am very concerned – though i’m glad she’s pretty and nice and brown. i read about the story and we can stay tuned for:
    1. a voodoo witch doctor instead of a fairy godmother
    2. the princess is the chambermaid of a spoiled white debutante
    3. and i’m feeling bebroma on the white prince. i mean, seeing as how we’re only going to get one black princess, i’d love some black-on-black love. if we had diversity, i’d be cool with diversity.

    alas.

  41. Jamillah says:

    Why do we have to be reaching everytime something come down for us. I think Hollywood is scared of us cause we nip pick on everything. As for the story…Read the Pricess and the frog. That is an old fairy tale. I like the story line. We always look with our eye to see the beauty instead of listening to our heart. I can’t wait to next year Christmas and I will by the doll when it come out.

    If we want things to represent us then we must take steps to get out there and get our storys and images seen. Stop whining, and start making!!

  42. Jamillah says:

    Why do we have to be reaching everytime something come down for us? I think Hollywood is scared of us cause we nip pick on everything. As for the story…Read the Pricess and the frog. That is an old fairy tale. I like the story line. We always look with our eye to see the beauty instead of listening to our heart. I can’t wait to next year Christmas and I will buy the doll when it come out.

    If we want things to start representing us then we must take steps to get out there and get our storys and images seen. Stop whining, and start making!!

  43. LBellatrix says:

    Thank you for posting that trailer. I liked all of it, even the toothless bug. (Some black folk DON’T have all their teeth. Some of them are related to me. What exactly is the problem?)

    After reading through these responses, I find myself agreeing with Jamillah mostly.

    It wouldn’t have mattered what they did…some (black) body was going to find SOMETHING wrong with it. I’m not a fan of Disney in general but seriously…I fail to understand why in 2008 we keep expecting companies who never did anything for us to do something that respects us (and again, that’s a hard job given how hypercritical SOME of us are).

    If it’s that serious then we need to GET OUR OWN ISH OUT THERE. It worked for Oscar Micheaux 80 years ago…what, exactly, is our excuse now?

  44. Oh dear Lord poor disney what ever happened to creative liscene. Let us not use this movie as the way to right all wrongs ever done to our people; allow it to be a Disney movie to be magical to have suspense and not to be a rigid formula made to please and accurately represent every member of the African diaspora, it will lose the magic.

    “Oh she should have cocoa skin or nah she should be brown sugar not everyone has a dark chocolate complexion.
    Her afro puff is too short, no its too long no she should have cornrows.
    Her curl is too loose no its perfect it shows our diversity.”

    It’s too much let it take its course then criticize.

  45. I was cool…’til that snaggly bug flew by. I caught myself looking for a flyswatter.

  46. what on earth??? i was ok (mind you just ok, as i noticed something lacking in the tone…disney usually treats their characters w/more “preciousness” and this just seems sort of flat) until the firefly. i mean, does anyone else think he’s sort of like a drunken jimeny cricket? what happened to all his teeth? and why is it so hard to string a sentence together? and (now that i’m thinking in whys), why does the black princess have to be the one to resist her dream come true (by not wanting to kiss her frog). why is it that black folks have to be depicted in such a down-graded sort of way???

  47. To those that said they don’t like the fact that the prince is white I say GET OVER IT.

    Aren’t you tired of black women waiting for the the IBM yet? I thank God that Disney chose a white guy instead of a black guy. Do you realize how much more harm that would do to our little girls? I can’t wait to take my daughters to see this film just becuse it will cement a fact they already know-black women are wanted by every race of people. Even in fairy tales!!!!!

  48. South_African_Beauty says:

    I completely agree with ms. gee ! =)

    black / brown is beautiful and desirable by all men not just ” our men ” and this is not emphasized enough .

  49. OK. y’all need to relax. For the first time in literally 62 years they are trying to include us. Don’t you remember the ridiculousness that was ‘Song of the South’? That can’t even be released on DVD in the US because its so insensitive. You don’t see that coming out of ‘the vault’ anytime soon. Zip a dee do nothing! With Disney being Disney this thing will be dissected and marketed and tested and run a million and four times before any of us sees anything significant. These people know exactly what they are doing and if you don’t think Pocohantas and Mulan and Aladdin weren’t warm ups for this you are very naive. GO AND SEE IT. Whenever anything that tries to include us in a big mainstream way comes out, we can nitpick it into there being another 60 year gap until we see us up on the screen again or we can support the hell out of it and help along the next big thing to also come along. Conversation about our portrayal as a race should be generated but we should try and expect the best. We deserve the best, Disney knows that only the best will generate decent money, and it has been a long time coming.

  50. “black / brown is beautiful and desirable by all men not just ” our men ” and this is not emphasized enough .”

    Probably because the media and every poll taken shows differently.

  51. Ms Gee: I’m married to a biracial man and have three beautiful multiracial children: I am pro all marriages whether they be interracial or not,however, listening to you ramble on about how “harmful” it is for a black child to see a POSITIVE image of a black relationship…would be hilarious if it didn’t sound so crass and border-line racist. Hopefully, your children will branch out and become TOLERANT and not have preconceived notions about certain men based on their race..judging by your mentality, they have a helluva lot to branch away from.

    What a pity….

    Jamillah:Girl..please.The only reason some Black people are being “nit picky” is because they are hoping for the best, but expecting the worse..

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  53. ialwayslie says:

    regarding what berrybrowne Says: “3. and i’m feeling bebroma on the white prince. i mean, seeing as how we’re only going to get one black princess, i’d love some black-on-black love. if we had diversity, i’d be cool with diversity.”
    I am more inpressed by Black+White than Black+Black because there really are almost no interracial romances, compared to just black.

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