Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

English Language and Literatures

First Advisor

Scott D. Trafton

Abstract

Disney’s 2009 film The Princess and the Frog was created in response to racial criticism. It features the first Black princess as a means of promoting racial equality. This film attempts to positively portray Black characters, who were depicted as violent and lazy in previous animations.

While the film showcases positive themes (e.g., internal beauty and virtuous work) and portrays Black characters in a more positive light than previous films, it still perpetuates the typical racism against people of color. The lack of accurate and equal representation of racial groups in recognizable and famous stories is a persistent issue, and this film attempts to counter this by offering Black characters empowerment within society and countering previous prevalent and degrading images of Black characters. However, the animated presentation of Black characters in The Princess and the Frog still perpetuates pervasive racial differences that marginalize and tokenize them.

This research explores the Black experience through the anthropomorphic representation of Black characters in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, with supported context from other recognizable Disney films.

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