The Princess and the Frog

The Walt Disney Company has made its first African-American princess — and plunked her down in the middle of Jim Crow-era Louisiana! For most of The Princess and the Frog‘s running time, that “princess,” Tiana (Anika Noni Rose), is actually a waitress pulling double shifts in Jazz Age New Orleans, trying to scrape together enough cash to open her own restaurant. Enter the visiting Prince Naveen of Maldonia (Bruno Campos), who finds himself transformed into the titular amphibian by a voodoo priest and convinces Tiana to kiss him as a way of reversing the spell — only, she turns all ribbity, too. They say it ain’t easy bein’ green, but it’s certainly a lot easier than being black. So writer-directors Ron Clements and John Musker (whose 1992 Aladdin proffered a sinister, ear-cutting Middle East) send newly anthropomorphic Tiana and Naveen hopping off into the bayou, where the ahistorical movie gives way to a veritable Mardi Gras parade of risible stereotypes. It’s only a kids’ movie, you may argue, which is precisely what makes The Princess and the Frog such an insidious whitewash.

Categories: Movies