Princess Tiana, Disney’s first black princess, first appeared as the lead character in the 2009 film ‘The Princess and The Frog’ and was very dark in completion. Disney animators after campaigners called for her original appearance to be restored have redrawn Princess Tiana following a backlash sparked by the release of an image in which her skin tone appeared significantly lighter.
Many deemed her historic creation as a sign of positive change within Hollywood and a step forward for Disney. But when images of Princess Tiana were released as part of the Wreck-It Ralph 2 promotional materials, fans and campaigners were shocked by her altered appearance.
As well as noticing a change in the pigmentation of her skin, anti-racist campaigners and critics also pointed out differences in Princess Tiana’s bone structure and her hair type.
Colour of Change, an anti-racism charity that works to end practices that hold black people back, led the campaign calling for Princess Tiana’s to be restored to her original appearance.
In response to the news, Rashad Robinson, the president of Color of Change, said: “Big news. Because of COC members and convos with Disney Animation, Princess Tiana has been restored to her original depiction. Now when Black girls watch Wreck-It Ralph 2, they’ll see Tiana and other princesses of colour that actually looks like them on screen.
The revisions have come almost a month before the release of Wreck-It Ralph.
In a statement obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Color of Change praised Disney’s work to “restore Princess Tiana’s image to that of an unapologetically black princess with full lips, dark skin and dark hair”.
Hollywood Culture Project is one of Color of Change’s initiatives to tackle the negative representations of black people on screen.
It works to ensure accurate, diverse, empathetic and human portrayals of black people by challenge corporate decision makers.
The creation of Princess Tiana, @Disney's first Black princess marked a defining moment for how Black women and girls are presented in media, specifically in animated movies. We're glad @DisneyAnimation has committed to restoring Tiana to her original form to ensure authenticity. pic.twitter.com/O4LpuiQZSs
— ColorOfChange.org (@ColorOfChange) September 20, 2018