The Princess & The Frog: A Commentary on SBFs


Last weekend, me and a good girlfriend decided to indulge the “little girl” in ourselves by going to see “The Princess and the Frog”. We settled in with our popcorn and store bought vitamin waters, ready to share a few giggles over a typical Disney storyline. Much to our surprise we were treated to way more than just a few giggles. I can’t count how many times throughout the film we looked over at each other, stunned to see that somehow Disney had found a way to tap into the essence of black women through a cartoon frog. Everything from Tiana working hard to save her money so that she could become an entrepreneur to handling the curve ball life through her way (a la turning into a frog), it was refreshingly funny and ironic that this accurate portrayal of black women came in the form of a frog.  Take for instance the fact that when she became a frog and was whisked away to the bayou with her frog prince, she not only saved him from getting eaten but she got up extra early the next morning, built a boat out of sticks and bark, woke him up and commenced to rowing the boat down the bayou herself. All of this happened while her soon to be frog prince sat idly by on his hind legs watching her do all the work. What really had us roaring laughing was watching this froggy interpretation of ourselves make a full blown tasty gumbo out of whatever was accessible in the bayou and then teaching her frog prince how to mince. There were so many themes, undertones and parallelisms that we left the theater literally shocked. I believe our exact words were, “wow….Disney actually got it right!” This was the fairytale little brown girls and single brown women alike have been waiting to see. Don’t believe me? Go check out the film and let us know…did you see yourself on screen?

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “The Princess & The Frog: A Commentary on SBFs

  1. I loved the movie, and will be buying it on dvd.

  2. this is my favorite pic of the princess
    because she is the best princess ever.

  3. While I definitely hear your comments and was actually very relieved myself, I could not view that film without my critical eye. I am going to teach a class this spring at IU on the “disney-fication” of race, gender, and nation-making. I wonder what your thoughts are on this tale in comparison to other Disney princesses?

    I thought that the tale was actually quite stereotypical in terms of the way in which black women are represented in media. This Disney tale is a classic version of the black superwoman.”

    So while several of the Disney princesses get to lay around all day, Princess Tiana doesn’t. I recognize that times have changed, but have they really changed that much?

    I remember Daddy told me :
    “Fairytales can come true
    You gotta make ’em happen, it all depends on you”
    So I work real hard each and every day . . .
    There’s been triles and tribulations
    You know I’ve had my share
    But I’ve climbed the mountain, I’ve crossed the river
    And I’m almost there, I’m almost there
    I’m almost there !
    – Princess Tiana, The Princess & The Frog, 2009 Disney

    Sleeping Beauty fair,
    Gold of sunshine in your hair,
    Lips that shame the red, red rose,
    Dreaming of true love in slumber repose
    One day he will come,
    Riding over the dawn,
    When you awaken to love’s first kiss,
    Till then, Sleeping Beauty, sleep on
    One day you’ll awaken to love’s first kiss,
    Till then, Sleeping Beauty, sleep on.

    Sleeping Beauty Song, 1959 Disney

    In closing, I wonder if you have read anything about this film that might work for a 200 level college course? I appreciate your time. – Cierra

  4. The Vyne

    Cierra – Thanks so much for your thoughtful commentary. There are certainly several critical lenses you can view this film through. While I haven’t run across anything specifically for teaching a college course, I imagine the dialog alone around stereotypes (positive and negative) would make for meaningful curriculum. Good luck to you & thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

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