March 17, 2010

A column I worte for class

This is a column I wrote for my news reporting 2 class. It's was a commentary so I chose to write about Disney's "The Princess and The Frog" I enjoyed the film but it rose a lot of controversy that I felt was unnecessary.

It’s been almost two months since Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog,” featuring Disney’s first ever African American princess, debuted in theaters. When I saw the preview for the film last summer I was excited, finally a princess to represent the little black girls of the world, but not everyone was as thrilled as I was. After the preview was released, controversy came from all over. Some didn’t like the idea of a black princess and some didn’t like the idea of an ambiguously raced prince. I was raised to not truly care about race, why should it matter?
I recently had the pleasure of seeing the film with my fiance and we enjoyed everything about the film. It had great music, animation and story. On opening weekend the film grossed $25,208,916, and has been nominated for 10 various awards, including Best Animated Feature. It was an entertaining and light-hearted romance with music and great characters. I can understand not liking a movie because of a bad plot or animation, but because of race? That is ridiculous! Why is a giving a black child hope that their dreams can come true so bad? To teach them that true love exists for them too? What is the big deal?
Many people were also upset that the prince wasn’t Black but, from what I saw, he wasn’t White either; he was from a fictional the country Maldonia and voiced by a Brazilian actor. Again I can’t understand why it raised such contest from the public. In the U.S., aka “the Melting Pot”, interracial relationships are everywhere, from Black and White to Black and Asian. So why is it a problem that Disney portrayed our culture as they see it? Don’t we teach children to not discriminate others based on skin color? Aren’t we are all equal and God’s children? Love is love, haven’t we fought for this in the past? That we have the right to love anyone no matter gender or color?
The film had many powerful messages that I think work for all children no matter what color, that hard work and fun have to work together, family is important, love has no boundaries and what you want isn’t always what you need. It also took the audience back to a time when New Orleans was a hot spot for entertainment and opportunity, the birth place of jazz. It showed children what New Orleans was like before Hurricane Katrina.
This movie is another step for African American culture, another first in Black History; we should be proud and overjoyed that times have truly changed from those of our grandparents. Acceptance is growing but people are still find things to complain about. First there’s not enough positive representation of African Americans in the media, now they can’t have interracial relationships because it shows that little Black boys can’t be princes’. Why nitpick at the minor details? Why argue when there’s nothing to truly argue about?
The fact that this controversy is over a children’s movie is what is the most troubling. Children learn from their parents, families and friends, if they see them placing an emphasis on race why wouldn’t they? Then a vicious cycle begins of hate and discrimination because of race, something we’ve been battling for decades! Why keep that cycle going? The movie was a great step back to classic Disney and I hope they do more. As for the controversy, save it, it’s a new day and age, we even have a bi-racial president. I salute Disney for taking the initiative, before Obama by the way, to develop a movie that reached another demographic and showed that a princess can be any color.

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