Original Entertainment
Published: Jul 21, 2008
Princess Tiana: Disney's 1st African American Princess Stereotyped?
by Toshiba Reynolds

Princess Tiana represents Disney's first African American Princess. It was originally to be set in 1920s New Orleans and depicted a black maid named Maddy.

With the help of Maddy's voodoo practicing fairy godmother, she would win the affection of a white prince after being rescued from another voodoo practictioner.

This original story was allegedly sacked after criticism and complaints of racism and Maddy has now become Tiana, reports the Daily Voice. The movie's title also reportedly changed, from The Frog Princess, the title of a classic fairytale, to the current The Princess and The Frog.

When completed, it will become the 48th animated film by Walt Disney Animation Studios.

The story now is a fairy tale centered on a young girl named Princess Tiana who lives in New Orleans' French Quarter during the Jazz Age.

It is being directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, directors of The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, with songs and score composed by Randy Newman and starring the voice talents of Anika Noni Rose, Keith David, John Goodman, Jenifer Lewis, Angela Bassett and Peter Bartlett.

Dreamgirls star Anika Noni Rose provides the African American voice for the lead character, Tiana.

The movie now provides an opportunity for the studio to "ward off the allegations of racism that have lurked since the heyday of Walt Disney Productions in the 1940s and 1950s," writes Arifa Akbar in London's Independent.

It has a scheduled release date of Christmas 2009.

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