In the latest trailer for Ralph Breaks the Internet Sarah Silverman’s Vanellope von Schweetz meets a who’s who roster of Disney princesses. From Cinderella to Mulan to Moana, it’s great to see all of these iconic characters in one place — especially Princess Tiana, Disney’s first black princess. But some are having problems with her appearance — particularly her hair.
Many fans have taken to Twitter to comment on the appearance of Princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog in the trailer saying that she isn’t properly representative of black women.
“Y’all don’t understand how important Princess Tiana is to Black girls,” said one Twitter user. “We finally had a Disney princess that looked like us, and now, she doesn’t. They gave her Eurocentric features and turned her into a racially ambiguous woman. It’s a no from me, dawg.”
In the first trailer, her hair is in a press-and-curl updo and her nose is rounder — much like the original animated feature. In the second trailer, there is a sleepover scene when she has lighter skin and her “natural” hair is wildly unrealistic to what black women do with their hair at bedtime. Many black women schooled Disney on this unrealistic press-and-curl-to-bedtime look.
For black women, the representation of hair is crucial but not solely for cosmetic purposes. As author and cartoonist C. Spike Trotman points out on Twitter: “black hair is complicated, political, and not something one thread on Twitter can explain.” Trotman proceeded to provide a “cheat sheet” for Disney, animators, cartoonists, and others about black women’s hair via a string of tweets giving tips including basic information that could be helpful in the future.
“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, pointing out that Tiana would most likely be in a bonnet or headscarf during the sleepover scene. Aspiring animator Taylor Goethe tweeted an image of what Tiana would have looked like in real-life saying, “All in all this is what I feel a more culturally accurate Tiana should look like.”
Trotman also retweeted a video of animators in celebration after wrapping Ralph Breaks the Internet. The included mostly white men without a woman in sight.
Watch the trailer above and read the tweets below.