Backtalk with Anika Noni Rose

Acclaimed actress shares her thoughts on the impact a movie about an African American princess can have on black girls

to teach them how to write in the classroom or throw a ball knows the feeling. They need representation too. They need to be seen.

There has been controversy surrounding the fact that the prince was not black. What are your feelings about that?
I can’t tell people how to feel. Darker-skinned people and brown-skinned people have very often in the history of fantasy been treated in a not pleasing fashion and been shown as the villain or as something bad or scary. I am hoping that people will be able to walk into the theater with the kind of openness and wonder that our kids have and just take it in.

What are the life lessons you hope people will take away from the movie?
There are beautiful lessons in this movie for all children of all backgrounds. What we don’t talk about as much is the message for the adults: It is so important to believe in your children. You don’t have to believe in the dream that they have, but believe in them. Believe in their desire, believe in their wherewithal. I believe firmly that without this sense of faith in myself, which came from people saying, “You can do it, whatever it is,” I would not be here.

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