Blatant racist best describes Walt Disney’s hand-drawn 2D animated film, “The Princess and the Frog”.
The film glorifies many major stereotypes of African-Americans, including Tiana, a poor, hardworking black woman (voiced by Anika Noni Rose) who falls in love with Prince Naveen of Maldonia (voiced by “Nip/Tuck’s” Bruno Campos), a broke, inept, jobless black man whom she’s burdened with the task of upgrading and who also typifies a down-low brother.
Taking place in New Orleans during the Roaring ’20s, the story opens up with Eudora (voiced by Oprah Winfrey) reading the “Prince and the Frog” to two little girls who are friends by default, Tiana, her daughter, and Charlotte La Bouff, a spoiled, motherless, southern debutante. Eudora is Charlotte’s personal seamstress and portrayed as her diluted “mammy” while her father, Eli “Big Daddy” La Bouff, a wealthy sugar mill owner, is always away at work.
Listening intently to the fairy tale, Charlotte dreams one day of becoming a princess while Tiana, who later ends up working two jobs as a diner waitress, is more practical, aspires to open up her own Cajun restaurant, Tiana’s Place.
One positive in the movie is that Tiana had a good relationship with her father, James, (voiced by Terrence Howard) who though passed away when she was younger, she relies heavily his sound advice in order to make good business decisions and to open up her heart when true love enters her life.
Eventually, Prince Naveen’s silly character is introduced into the film. Spoiled and recently cut off from his family, he lands in New Orleans with his embittered Caucasian servant Lawrence (voiced by “One Life to Live’s” Peter Bartlett) to find and marry a rich, prima donna for her money in exchange for making her a princess.
Here, the Prince’s down-lowness is exposed, exemplified by his laissez-faire and naïve attitude when he is approached by Dr. Facilier’s shadow, to which the Prince lustfully responds with an aroused “Hello.”
Investigation of the Prince’s name also reveals that Naveen is a girl’s name that means “new” in the East Indian religion, Hindu, perhaps further suggesting that he is down-low. It’s no accident that his accent carries hints of East Indian inflections.
Bringing the characters together, similar to a Cinderella fairy tale standpoint, Charlotte’s father, “Big Daddy,” throws a big costume party in honor of the Prince’s arrival in his pompous attempt to grant his daughter’s wishes to marry royalty.