Move over Snow White: A Cocoa Lounge illustration inspired by Disney's The Frog Princess.
It has been years in the making (and with a release date of 2009 it still is), but Disney has finally announced plans to feature a black heroine as its title character in the upcoming Frog Princess.
According to Reuters:
The film, scheduled for release in 2009 by Disney Feature Animation, is the first hand-drawn film the company has committed to since pledging last month to return to the traditional animation form that made it a worldwide brand.
"The Frog Princess," a musical scored by composer Randy Newman, is "an American fairy tale" starring a girl named Maddy who lives in the French Quarter in New Orleans, said John Lasseter, chief creative director for Disney and Pixar Animation Studios.
Maddy joins eight other Disney princess characters that have generated $3 billion in global retail sales since 1999. Disney Princesses is the fastest growing brand for the company's Consumer Products division.
Disney introduced its first non-white animated heroine in its 1992 film, "Aladdin" with the Middle Eastern character Jasmine, and followed it three years later with the Native American princess "Pocahontas."
The creation of the Chinese heroine from "Mulan" came in 1998. Other Disney princesses include the main characters from the films "Cinderella," "Sleeping Beauty," "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Beauty and the Beast," and "The Little Mermaid."
The Consumer Products division aggregated the eight characters in 1999 under the banner "Disney Princesses" and has rolled out toys, books, clothing, furniture and other merchandise aimed at girls ages 3 to 8.
Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger said the company wanted to show its support for New Orleans, only partially rebuilt 18 months after it was flooded by Hurricane Katrina, by holding its annual meeting and setting its newest animated film here.
"We thought it would be a great signal to send that New Orleans is important, that we believe in New Orleans, and in a way it was our means of not only expressing some appreciation but of giving back," Iger told Reuters in an interview. "This is a town we have derived great stories from."
It will be interesting to see what happens with this project in the coming months:
Alicia Keys is said to be in talks for the role, but Raven Symone seems like the more obvious choice for Disney. Time will tell.