So there is this costume based on the entirely made up Tiara character from Disney. Apparently clueless black parents across the US are happy because there is "finally" a black royal character for their daughters to fit in...sorry, identify with. So a twit on my timeline posted the following article:
In which we find:
Princess Tiana, Disney’s first new princess in 10 years, is also the brand's first African-American princess. The movie, "The Princess and the Frog," is a musical fairy tale in which Tiana, a girl from New Orleans, voiced by actress Anika Noni Rose, is mistaken for a princess by a frog prince who asks her to kiss him to break the spell. Though the film does not arrive in theaters until Dec. 11, Tiana Halloween costumes are already a hot property. And in an unusual twist, the character is resonating more with adults than with little girls.
When I first heard of this concoction I knew we were in for another Disneyfied Moses story. You know the whitefacing of Khemet. Never mind the whole phoniness of the Moses story as perpetrated in the Old Testament. But that's another blog entry.
But one of the saddest parts is here:
"I am very passionate about this particular Disney character," Willis said. "It has been 100 years in the making. I've been very disturbed because I love the concept of a princess, but they don’t exist for the African-American community."
Excuse me? Ok I'll admit it. I have the urge to cal this person all manner of not child safe words for being so stupid as to allow herself to be quoted in such a manner.
First of all there is no concept of princess in AMERICAN communities because the United States, stolen from native Americans, did not arise out of a monarchy. The monarch concept as known by Europeans is something they brought from Europe. You know, that place those pilgrims were running from. You know, the people the French were keen to behead.
Putting all that aside, There were and are plenty of royalty in Africa, you know that place black folk come from, you know, the "Africa" part of African-American. It is so sad to see black folk in 2009 still aping after white folk. Tiara is simply European fairy tales in blackface. We have plenty of our own stories with which we can teach our children and make costumes about. However; in order to do so, parents need to have a clue.
One other thing of note for our real life African queens is that unlike most of their European counterparts, ours like Yaa Assantewa fought against the slave trade. Imagine that You'd prefer your daughter play blackface Europe than actual Queen who resisted the British. Sad. Even sadder:
[Tiana] is almost a confirmation as a black woman ... that you can be a princess, too."
Oh it's an affirmation all right. It's an affirmation that black people are in such a sad mental state that a black man in a woman's costume is a run away hit and a completely made up Disney character (with "good hair" no doubt) is what black mothers are looking to provide self-esteem for their daughters.
But just when you thought I was done there's more. Even IF we wanted to look at Europe for Royal templates then we would meet people like Queen Phillipa Charlotte of England who was descended from the black royalty of Portugal. Who knows though, they'll probably try to tie Tiara to this person and lineage. Still though, that black women and black people in general feel the need to have a Disneyfied and whitewashed character of a "princess" in order for their daughters to have self-esteem, when there are plenty of real life and living African queens to choose from is a sad state of affairs.
My recommendation: Less Disney more library.