Monday, February 23, 2009

Finally, a New Orleans based Disney Princess! (shhhh, btw, she is black)


Disney Unveils Its First Black Princess
Posted By Marcia A. Wade On February 17, 2009 @ 12:05 pm In Arts & Culture 7 Comments

Tony award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose will give voice to Princess Tiana in Disney's The Princess and the Frog. (Source: Disney)

Playing princess is something shared by little girls around the world. But until recently, the most recognizable princesses worldwide featured in the Disney Co. franchise did not include one that modeled the skin, hair, and facial features associated with women of African descent.

Princess Tiana, the heroine of Disney’s new movie The Princess and the Frog [1], changed that when she made her debut Monday at this year’s American International Toy Fair [2] in New York. Starting in Fall 2009, the company will sell dolls, t-shirts, backpacks, and other products that feature the likeness of Princess Tiana, Disney’s first American princess who also happens to be its first black princess. The movie will air in theaters nationwide during this year’s holiday season.

“We did a lot of work internally to make sure that the product that we were developing would speak to a really broad range of moms,” says Kathy Franklin, the vice president of global studio franchise animation and Disney consumer products. “We don’t see Princess Tiana product as being just for African American girls at all. But we want little girls who have not seen Disney Princesses who look like them to see Princess Tiana and be thrilled that they have a character in our franchise who speaks to them and how they see themselves as a princess.”

Tony award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose will give voice to Princess Tiana. Talk show host and business mogul Oprah Winfrey will play the voice of Eudora, and Oscar-nominated actor Terrence Howard also voices a character in the movie.

Noni Rose says she was “thrilled” to give life to the first black Disney princess. “It has been a lifelong dream of mine to voice a Disney character and to have it be this one could not be more exciting,” she added.

The story is set in 1920s New Orleans. To prepare for the role, Noni Rose says she “listened to a lot of music of the era, watched documentaries, and read up on New Orleans at that time.”
Franklin describes Tiana as a smart, aspiring entrepreneur. “Her dream is not to marry a prince. Her dream is to open a restaurant. It is a dream that she has had from the beginning,” Franklin says.

Princess Tiana dolls will be introduced in several sizes and at several price points, which will be determined by the retailers. The dolls will include a standard collector fashion doll equivalent in scale to a Barbie doll, a Tiana toddler doll, a doll that holds a talking frog, and a doll set with Tiana and Prince Naveen, her tadpole-hopping love interest post-transformation.
This year the Disney princess franchise [3], which accrues $4 billion in yearly retail sales worldwide, will celebrate its 10-year anniversary. Tiana will be the ninth character, the fourth princess of color, and the first African American princess in the franchise. She also marks Disney’s first return to hand drawn animation since the 1998 cartoon Mulan, titled after the Chinese warrior princess.

Princess Tiana will initially stand alone and not be included with Disney products that group the princesses together until the summer of 2010 and after audiences have been fully introduced to her and her story, Franklin says.

“Collectors of first-of-a kind items and black doll collectors, in particular, will readily buy the Princess Tiana doll,” says Debbie Behan Garrett, author of Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting and Experiencing the Passion [4]. Garrett believes that although most mothers buy dolls that represent their child’s ethnicity, the fact that the doll is the first African American Princess created by a company with Disney’s stature will help it transcend race and doll-buying trends.

In addition to toys, Disney will also introduce an extensive line of apparel, accessories, home d├ęcor, consumer electronics, school supplies, and personal care products inspired by the characters.

Princess Tiana’s preliminary debut in 2007 did not go over smoothly. An earlier draft of the story entitled The Frog Princess allegedly described Tiana as a chambermaid named Maddy.

This characterization was upsetting to some in the black community, who were indignant to learn that the first black princess started out as a servant with a name that, when enunciated closely, resembled the name Mammy, which was used to degrade black women.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ultimate UK fan & Kentucky girl: Ashley Judd

"Sure, girls from New York.... they are tough. And girls from Georgia.... they are sweet. But those, born and bred, feisty Kentucky girls.... they are the ones you have to look out for. We have sugar and fire in our blood. We can ride a horse, be a debutante, throw a left hook and tell you the entire UK line up.... all while making sweet tea. And when we have an opinion, you get to know it. We're both the pride and the downfall of the bluegrass."- Ashley Judd

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"First love may not be your best love," Michelle Atkinson, Southern girl, age 8

My then 8 yr old & 6 yr daughters accompanied a friend & I to the movie "Enchanted". It had wonderful puns, inside jokes and allusions to other Disney Princess movies that were intended for the adults in the audience...and maybe some very astute, precocious kids.

I encourage nice, Southern girls who are growing up or who are grown, but finding themselves, to see this movie! The Princess saves the Prince & discovers a lot about herself & her strengths in the process!

After the movie I asked my girls what lessons that they learned from this Disney Princess movie.

Anna, age 6: "Even if the boy WANTS to kiss you, you don't have to kiss him back."

"GREAT lesson!" I responded.

Michelle, age 8: "Mamma. I learned two things:
A princess doesn't need a prince to save her. And,
Your first love, may not be your best love."

And that is a WONDERFUL lesson for all princesses & Southern belles & recovering Nice Girls.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kenny Chesney quote:

“Southern girls are God's gift to the entire male population. there is absolutely no woman finer than one raised below the mason-dixon line and once you go southern may the good Lord help you - you never go back.”

The Mythic Southern Girl

Southern Girls

Southern girls know bad manners when they see them:
Drinking straight out of a can.
Not sending thank you notes.
Velvet after February.
White shoes before Easter or after Labor Day.

Southern girls appreciate their natural assets:
Dewy skin
A winning smile
That unforgettable Southern drawl

Southern girls know their manners:
"Yes Ma'am"
"Yes sir"
"Why, no, Billy !"

Southern girls have a distinct way with fond expressions:
"Y'all come back!"
"Well, bless your little ol' heart."
"Drop by when you can."
"How's your mother?"
"Love your hair."

Southern girls don't sweat... they glisten.

Southern girls know their summer weather report:

Southern girls have more fun than should be allowed.

Southern girls know their three R's:

Southern girls know their vacation spots:
The Beach
The Beach
The Beach

Southern girls know the joys of June, July, and August:
Summer tans
Wide brim hats
Strapless sun dresses

Southern girls know everybody's first name:

Southern girls know the movies that speak to their hearts:
Gone With the Wind
Fried Green Tomatoes
Driving Miss Daisy
Steel Magnolias

Southern girls know their religion:
SEC Basketball

Southern girls know their seasons:
Spring training

Southern girls know their country breakfasts:
Country ham
Scrambled eggs
Mouth watering homemade biscuits

Southern girls know their cities, dripping with charm:
Nawlins' (New Orleans - for those of you NOT from the South)

Southern girls know their elegant gentlemen:
Men in uniform
Men in tuxedos
Rhett Butler, of course

Y'all know Southern girls are quick on the drawl.

Southern girls know their prime real estate:
The Mall
The Spa
The Salon

Southern girls can teach anyone to flirt...
Slowly lower your eyelashes
Listen carefully to everything he says
Speak r-e-a-l slow

Southern girls know the three deadly sins:
Bad hair
Bad manner
Bad blind dates

Southern girls know men come and go,
but friends are fo'evah.

The joke that started it all:

An old joke:

Three southern belles, in fact, sorority sisters, are in rocking chairs on the veranda, passing a hot summer day bysipping mint juleps and talking about presents that they got for college graduation.

The first keeps prattling on about her daddy, Beauregard, taking her on a tour of Europe. The third girl said: "That's nice...."

The second belle said her Daddy bought her a diamond necklace, and a new sports car. The third girl responded with, "That's nice..."

The first asks, "Well, what did your Daddy do for you?"
The third replies, "He sent me to finishing school."

The second belle asks, "Finishing school? What did you need with finishing school after college?"
The third replies, "That's where they taught me to say 'That's nice...' instead of 'Fuck you.'"