Disney Unveils Its First Black Princess

Anika Noni Rose plays Tiana, a royal entrepreneur

the first African American princess in the franchise. She also marks Disney’s first return to hand drawn animation since the 1998 cartoon Mulan, titled after the Chinese warrior princess.

Princess Tiana will initially stand alone and not be included with Disney products that group the princesses together until the summer of 2010 and after audiences have been fully introduced to her and her story, Franklin says.

“Collectors of first-of-a kind items and black doll collectors, in particular, will readily buy the Princess Tiana doll,” says Debbie Behan Garrett, author of Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting and Experiencing the Passion. Garrett believes that although most mothers buy dolls that represent their child’s ethnicity, the fact that the doll is the first African American Princess created by a company with Disney’s stature will help it transcend race and doll-buying trends.

In addition to toys, Disney will also introduce an extensive line of apparel, accessories, home décor, consumer electronics, school supplies, and personal care products inspired by the characters.

Princess Tiana’s preliminary debut in 2007 did not go over smoothly. An earlier draft of the story entitled The Frog Princess allegedly described Tiana as a chambermaid named Maddy. This characterization was upsetting to some in the black community, who were indignant to learn that the first black princess started out as a servant with a name that, when enunciated closely, resembled the name Mammy, which was used to degrade black women.

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  • Alfred Edmond Jr.

    All together now: It’s about time. Now we just have to hold our breath and pray that Disney presents an authentic image for all little girls (especially the brown ones) to admire and love. Does anyone know anything else about this project? Has anyone seen previews?

  • Great!


  • Karima

    It’s seems the appointment of Obama is opening doors everywhere.

  • Jackee

    Now I can purchase princess products with pictures on them for my daughter. It is about time. Barbie and the rest of the toys need to catch on. This is why The Bratz is out selling Barbie, simply because the make and sell African American dolls in a few different shades and they even have hispanic dolls. Everything is not about just white!!!!

  • @Alfred Edmond Jr.,

    A link to an image of the doll, Princess Tiana, can be accessed at the following URL.


  • RachelK

    Hey, while I love the setting for this story, I can’t help but wonder if any segregation laws forbid this from ever occuring. This is wonderful that little girls of African descent will finally have a model true to their race and toy products to buy, but is this the best possible way to announce a new princess? In the wrong era?

  • I’m sorry, what year is this!!! We have to wait until 2009 to be told by WHITE AMERICA that we are now offically princesses. I don’t know if I’m ahead of the world but my daughters have always been princesses, and I didn’t need your permission to ask if black girls {oops African Americans} could be a princess. You people kill me in thinking it’s okay to do something when you think it’s permissable.We have been trying to get everybodys approval but our own KEEP YOUR BLACK {OOPS AFRICAN AMERICAN} ass doll to yourself. I tell my daughters, grandaughters, nieces, cousins, even sisters and strangers that they are Queens and Princesses. When did we need Disneys approval. Madam CJ Walker spent most of her years helping out what has been destroyed by other races as far as looks. Pleeeeze tell that princes mess to someone who needs to hear it constantly.Little White Girls.

  • Lou

    Jackee just wanted you to know that Mattel has been making African American Barbies for years now and Hispanic Barbies also. Way before the Bratz dolls. As of Christmas 2008 Barbie was still #1 on the list for girls of all colors. I myself own several Black barbies.

  • Edwina

    I was excited to see The Princess and the Frog trailer last year when I bought a Disney movie for my 2 girls (2 & 5). I promised them that “Lord willing” I will take them to the theater to support the movie. I am one mother who refuses to buy my daughters any caucasion dolls. I have a young neice (6) who questioned her beauty because of the stigma portrayed on tv, magazines, toys and how my inlaw complains about the “thickness” of her hair. Whether barbie, american girl dolls, etc. I want my daughters to see that you can be who you are, embrace who you are and love who you are; support products and people that reflect who you are while being beautiful and proud doing so… Great Job Disney!

  • I’ve never given this a try, but I think it’s about time I do.

  • soulshadow55

    I think it’s a great idea that some black person should have thought up first. Why are we consistantly asking other groups to do for us what we should be doing for ourselves?

    It’s just another case of someone else making money off of us when one of us could have created this, marketed it and made a fortune and kept that money in the black community.

    We have begged Disney for years to create a black doll when we should have just told them to go to hell and created one ourselves. I won’t be buying one for my grand daughter.

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  • N

    and her prince is white!!!!! says alot!

    • has not white his more of a browm skinned.
      but he is brizilian

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