While browsing That Black Girls Site I noticed an article on Disney' s search for a black princess. I had previously spoken about Disney's struggle with princesses and my excitement for Maddy in this piece about American Girl ("American Girl Movie. A Playlist and An Apology"). Apparently my dream is never going to come true. According to this piece it has been reported that the princesses' name has been changed to Tiana, she's going to get with some non-black dude, and they will live in a fictional land. Well for one this disproves my theory that non-white Disney princesses are all localized in order to deal with the issues of ethnicity. Don't they owe the South one after the horror of Song of the South?* However, it does bring up other issues that are too numerous to mention.
I can talk all day about race, cartoons and children's programming as its something that I've wondered about since the days of Doug and the Puzzle Place (really the Funnys and the Beets were white, everyone else included rich lil Bebe was funky colored). But I won't.
Instead I bring the past which I may be looking at through rose colored glasses. HBO used to do a great series that was also available for purchase called Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child. The stories were "politically correct" and featured a range of races and ethnicities for the characters. There was this one Caribbean one that my family watched and laughed at over and over. Robert Guilliame narrated and there was quite the cast (voices) of minority actors (Magaret Cho**, Raven-Symone, Sinbad, even Pauletta Washington). The stories were really good with a little moralistic lesson as well as not demeaning the life of women. Apparently the episodes still come on in the morning. If you subscribe to HBO Family check it out: the schedule's here.
Here's a very short clip from "The Princess and The Pea:"
Also a Wikipedia article including links to the IMDB and HBO website. If you're really interested you can buy some episodes on Amazon.
*At 20 years old after seeing the movie the year before I went to Disneyland to try and ride Splash Mountain. It was sadly closed. Still that was a great way to spend senior year Spring Break.
**Crazy as Magaret Cho may be you have to admit she rocks hard for the kids. This and C-Bear and Jamal were the ish.