When Disney announced The Princess and the Frog back in 2009, you couldn’t tell Black girls anything.
FINALLY, after like a zillion years, we were getting our very own Disney princess. With Anika Noni Rose voicing Princess Tiana and Oprah Winfrey voicing her mother, we were ready to give Disney all of our money. The Princes and the Frog is a good movie with some fantastic music, but it’s not a perfect film. There’s that whole issue of Tiana being a frog for most of it, and the fact that her annoying friend gets just a tad too much screentime. However, that didn’t stop us from snatching Tiana merchandise off the shelves that holiday season.
However, if you’ve been searching for Princess Tiana merchandise in stores for whatever reason in the past few years, you’ve probably come up empty handed. So, why is that? After all, she’s an OFFICIAL Disney Princess with the same status as Cinderella and Anna and Elsa from Frozen.
In an interview with Mic, Dadaviz’s Jody Sieradzki who looked at the correlation between Disney princess’ skin tones and merchandise sales, suggested that perhaps the disparity is as simple as box office revenue. He said, “The movie The Princess and the Frog didn’t do well in theaters, so I wouldn’t expect [Tiana] merchandise sales to do well either. But I guess one would have to question why this movie did not do as well as other Disney movies.” The Princess and the Frog made $24 million dollars during its opening weekend. Disney’s most recent Princess flick, Moana earned $50 million during the same time frame.
Could this mean that Disney did not put the same time and care into marketing and promoting The Princess and the Frog as they have in their other Disney Princess films?
In the past few years, Disney has made more strides towards diversity, particularly with its Latina princesses. We’ve been introduced to Sophia the First and Elena of Avalor. However, we don’t want to see Black girls being pushed aside or lost in the crowd. Our representation is so important.
The next time you’re in the Disney story or your local superstore look around in the toy section and see how much Princess Tiana merchandise you can spot. Perhaps it’s time to start asking Disney some very poignant questions because obviously, something isn’t right.