In 1937, the first animated Disney movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in the United States. In 2009, seventy-two years later, Disney has introduced its first Black Princess to audiences across the nation. The Princess & The Frog was a hit over the weekend and easily took first place at the box office with earnings of $25 million.
Princess Tiana can now proudly stand next to the Disney princesses of the past. She joins Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, Mulan, Jasmine, Aurora, Belle and Pocahontas.
Anika Noni Rose is the proud voice behind the face of diversity amongst the Disney princesses. The Tony Award-winning singer and actress was extremely honored and excited to be chosen for this role. Anika made her debut on stage in “Caroline, or Change,” worked alongside Beyoncé and Jenniffer Hudson in “Dreamgirls” and got great recognition for her work in HBO’s “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.”
Recently, ESSENCE.com sat down with Anika and obtained the following insight on her latest role:
ESSENCE.com: What was your initial thought when you heard there was going to be a Black animated princess?
ANIKA NONI ROSE: Oh my God, I was thrilled. [Working with] Disney has been my dream, so I just focused on getting the part and when I did, I called home screaming! [laughs] There’s no reason why a girl from Connecticut would end up being the first Black Disney princess.
ESSENCE.com: Well, there’s no reason why not, either! Weren’t Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Tyra Banks being considered, too?
ROSE: I read that they were, but I don’t know any details. Ultimately, that didn’t matter to me because I was competing against me. As an actor, if you spend so much time thinking about how many other people are coming into a room, you’ll psyche yourself out before you even get there.
ESSENCE.com: What does it mean to you to be making history?
ROSE: The largesse of it all didn’t hit me [in the beginning], but when they unveiled the doll to me, I remember thinking, “There’s a doll, based on me and the work I’ve done, that’s going to be here for these little girls–and she’s glamorous.” This movie is showing the world a different picture of Black America, which is phenomenal. It’s just phenomenal.
To read more of this interview click here.
Disney’s first Black princess Anika Noni Rose is featured on the cover of the January 2010 issue of Essence Magazine and in the issue, the actress talks about her role as Princess Tiana in the new movie “The Princess and the Frog.”
So honestly, what are your thoughts on the debut of a Black Disney princess 72 years after the first animated Disney movie was released?