‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’, the sequel to 2012’s ‘Wreck-It-Ralph’, is due to hit theaters in less than two months, but even so, Disney is diving back in to reanimate one sequence that had fans up in arms. In a clip included in a trailer, Vanellope stumbles upon the Disney Princesses and encourages them to trade in their cinched formal gowns for more comfortable attire. It’s a cute sequence, which would have been fine except that for whatever reason, the animators took Tiana, the first and only black Disney Princess and radically changed her appearance, lightening both her skin and hair color and giving her hair a natural curl appearance. Some even feel that features like her nose have been streamlined to give her a more Euro-sense of beauty.
As she was originally rendered in ‘The Princess and the Frog’, Tiana had dark, chocolate skin and black hair. Her eyes did have a light, almost orange tint to them. But there was no mistaking that she was black. The ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ version comes across as biracial or multi-ethnic.
This led to an outcry online as actual black fans, who were legitimately positively impacted by the presence of a black Disney Princess, felt betrayed by the fact that Tiana had been given a more racially ambiguous appearance. Now no one is saying there can’t be a multi-ethnic Disney Princess– there should be– but don’t take the one and only African American lead and turn her turn her into something else.
Though the exact context of the scene is unknown, the fact that the Princesses are in sweats, pajamas and other comfortable clothes gives the impression that this is a sleepover. That further led to complaints that Tiana should be wearing a head wrap. If this is indeed a slumber party, then that is valid, but since the movie hasn’t come out yet, they may just be relaxing. (Tiana is, after all, drinking what looks to be a frozen coffee drink, indicating that she isn’t quite ready to turn in for the night.)
The original voice of Tiana, Anika Noni Rose, reprises her role in ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’, along with other classic Princess voices including Kristen Bell (Anna), Jodi Benson (Ariel), Idina Menzel (Elsa), Mandy Moore (Rapunzel), Paige O’Hara (Belle), and Ming-Na Wen (Mulan).
‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ stars John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman, with Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jane Lynch, Jack McBrayer, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill, and Alan Tudyk and hits theaters on November 21.
Source: The Wall Street Journal