Black History month may be over, but we’re not finished honoring Black women who have shaped our culture in entertainment for Women’s History Month and beyond. For years, Hollywood has shaped or attempted to shape, how we see ourselves and our place in society. Black Hollywood continues to fight for a seat at the table and once they slide their chair up, doors are open and opportunities are made.
But for the nature of this piece, let’s just look at two Royal Women- Anika Noni Rose and Brandy. Thanks to these two women, little Black girls have Black Disney princesses to look up to.
In 1997, Brandy made the impossible, possible when she became the first Black actress to portray Cinderella on-screen. Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella is arguably one of the best adaptions of the Disney classic, with an all-star cast that included Whoopi Goldberg, Bernadette Peters, the late Natalie Desselle, and Whitney Houston as the fairy godmother.
Since its premiere 24 years ago, television musical music has been a staple in every Black girl’s childhood.
Actress Keke Palmer, who went on to become the first African American to portray Cinderella on Broadway, said it was Brandy’s portrayal who inspired her performance.
“I feel like the reason I’m able to do this is definitely because Brandy did it on TV,” Palmer told Vanity Fair in 2014. “In me doing this, it shows everybody that everything is possible.”
Photographer and social media influencer Symone Seven went viral last year when she recreated Cinderella in her own image. She also credits the 1997 movie as her inspiration.
“Little girls, they love Disney princesses, even to this day I still love my Black Cinderella (Brandy),” she shared exclusively with RoyalTee in a May 2020 interview.
Anika Noni Rose
Have you heard the phrase “you kiss plenty of frogs to get to your prince?”
Princess Tiana, the first Black Disney princess, brought extraordinary changes for little Black girls, thanks to Anika Noni Rose. In 2011, Disney named her a “Disney Legend.” Her impact brought more than just little girls. Last summer, Disney World announced they will revamp their attraction, ‘Splash Mountain’ to The Princess and the Frog theme.
Now that’s something to brag about! She is making history by sprinkling her #blackgirlmagic. If Rose did it, don’t you think there should be more movies like this? Disney is in the works on the new movie ‘Secret Society of Second-Born Royals’ and Niles Fitch will play the first Black prince.
I personally love all the Disney princess movies. Ironically my favorite princess movie is The Princess and the Frog. The movie came out in 2009 and it was the first to see a princess of the same color as me.
My mom taught me at a young age to be myself and always hold my head high. What does being a princess mean to you? All I hear is royalty when I think of a princess.
My favorite moment of the movie was when Tiana was transformed back into her human body, she learned a lot by being a frog that helped change her views on certain things.
I’m Sylah Ferguson, 20 years old and I was born and raised in Albany, Georgia. I am a Senior at Albany State University majoring in Mass Communications with a minor in Criminal Justice. On campus, I am apart of the radio station Real 92.7 for the school, there I work as an on-air personality and Music Director. I’ve had a strong love for music at a young age, and growing up I listened to a variety of genres of music. Writing has always been one of my strongest talents and favorite hobbies.