Disney Will Reanimate Princess Tiana In ‘Wreck-It Ralph 2’ After Whitewashing Backlash

Sometimes I get angry at the seemingly pointless fights that get picked, in particular over race, when choosing bigger battles to wage would be a better strategy. And then a situation like this arrives and I realize sometimes I’m an idiot who needs to take in the whole picture. A few weeks ago Disney faced an unexpected controversy from an unlikely source, sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet, and it had to do with the way Princess Tiana from Princess and the Frog was depicted in the scenes featuring all of the Disney princesses.

To see her in those trailers and images, you would never recognize that this was the same Tiana. It was clear that her African-American features had been altered drastically, her hair curlier, her skin lightened, and her facial features softened so that she resembled all of the other white princesses in Disney’s canon. And fans noticed. They noticed like shit, and got mad as Hell about it over social media.

The uproar did reach the Disney offices, and according to Anika Noni Rose, who voiced Tiana in the original film and in Ralph Breaks the Internet, changes are being made to correct the issue. Rose said that she met with Disney reps to voice her concern, and frankly she does a better job explaining why Tiana is important to black women and black girls than I ever could…

“…I was able to express how important it is to the little girls (and let’s face it, grown women) who felt represented by her that her skin tone stay as rich as it had been, and that her nose continue to be the little round nose that Mark so beautifully rendered in the movie; the same nose on my very own face and on many other little brown faces around the world, that we so rarely get to see represented in fantasy.”

“I also appreciate that this far into the process Disney had enough care and respect for all who love Princess Tiana and her legacy to spend the time and money to make the adjustments necessary.”

Good on her, and good on Disney for listening to what people had to say on this issue, taking it seriously, and doing something about it.  Movies have incredible power to influence the way we perceive ourselves, and accurate representation in Hollywood is a very big deal.  Hopefully this sets a new standard not just for animation but for live-action films as well.

Ralph Breaks the Internet opens November 21st.