Disney gets dragged for Princess Tiana’s new look with lighter skin and curly hair

Princess Tiana
Princess Tiana | Disney


Disney is under fire after a trailer for Ralph Breaks the Internet went online and broke the hearts of many with a very different version of Princess Tiana.  She looks a lot less like the beloved Black girl and the first Black princess who became a cultural phenomenon.

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In the trailer, Sarah Silverman’s character Vanellope von Schweetz meets a group of Disney’s classic princesses like Cinderella and Moana. Princess Tiana is there too at first looking like her iconic self from the movie with her hair in an up-do and dressed in her green princess gown.

But it’s a sleepover scene that folks are taking issue with, Deadline reports. For some reason, Princess Tiana’s facial features are changed and she looks more ambiguous – her skin is a few shades lighter and her natural hair is all over her head. That in itself is unrealistic – many pointed out – given how a Black woman’s hair that has been straightened or pressed or permed, wouldn’t just revert back to its natural state.

Author and cartoonist C. Spike Trotman also tore into Disney about having a more realistic depiction of the Princess before bedtime, which would likely include her having a hair bonnet on her head to keep her curls in place. She pointed out the importance of representation for black girls who felt a sense of inclusivity when Princess Tiana was created in their image. Now they believe Disney is whitewashing the character away.

“Black hair is complicated, political, and not something one thread on Twitter can explain.”

Trotman then provided a “cheat sheet” for Disney, animators, cartoonists, and others about black women’s hair via a number of tweets to help guide them on future projects.

“For the benefit of folks who might wanna do better: if Image One is a kinky-haired black girl’s formal look? Image Two, or something like it, has a  99.9% chance of being her ‘lounge look’,” Trotman added.

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Trotman included an image that aligned more with a bed time look for a Black girl.

“All in all this is what I feel a more culturally accurate Tiana should look like,” she said.

Trotman also slammed a video of the animators celebrating at a wrap party for Ralph Breaks the Internet. The scene appears to be all white men and no women.

Read the thread of Trotman’s full explanation of where Disney went wrong.