Analysis: The Princess and the Frog
There were quite a lot of interesting, behind-the-scenes politics that went into the planning of this movie, as it introduced the first Black and the first American Disney Princess (Pocahontas not counting for the latter, since America didn't exist as a cultural entity in the 1600's), during a time period when Black Americans were heavily oppressed, meaning the animators had to tread delicately on many issues. All tropes pertaining to those anecdotes belong here.
- But Not Too Black: Averted with Tiana. Dr. Facilier is lighter than even the "olive-toned" prince, probably meant to be Creole, but he's the villain.
- Catch-22 Dilemma: There was a lot of debated on whether or not Prince Naveen should have been black. Up until 5 years later with Big Hero 6, there had never been a black male protagonist in a Disney film. Many felt that Disney missed an opportunity to actually have their first black male prince as well. On the other end of the spectrum you had viewers react positively to their being a mixed race couple. Not to mention that Naveen being black would've opened an entirely different can of worms concerning his character. Naveen was created as a foil to Tiana by being a lazy bum looking to marry into money. Considering the negative racial connotations that would've been connected to the character if he were Black, this may have pissed viewers off more.
- The decision to make Naveen Ambiguously Brown also came from the fact that Disney would have gotten flack from liberals for making him black ("Disney hates interracial marriage!") or white ("Oh sure, the princess can be anything, but the prince has to be white!"). Naveen's design was basically the animators saying "Here! Now he can be whatever offends you the most!"
- Enforced Trope: If the production team didn't portray Tiana as diligent, it would have amounted to portraying her entire race as lazy. Disney would never have found peace again.
- Facial Profiling: A delicate issue with Tiana's design. It's very clear with her fuller lips and broader nose that Tiana wasn't just a generic white design coated brown. At the same time, artists had a challenge in not playing up any "blackface" stereotypes.
- Hollywood Pudgy: Charlotte has a tinier waist than any real life supermodel, but certain critics have called her "fat", even though it's more like she's just stacked with realistic arms instead of stylized slenderness like Tiana.note Some of her perceived pudginess is due to her personality. Charlotte typically wears lavish and flouncy dresses and bounces when she walks. Charlotte's design is over-all very round, despite her tiny waist, and she has full cheeks; they make her expressive and give her a childlike smile, and an excess of baby fat.
- Humorously enough, an early concept was to have her actually be fat, hiding an enormous potbelly with her corset.
- Older and Wiser: As a production company, Disney has learned a lot from their mistakes surrounding racism, specifically portrayals in Dumbo and Song of the South. This time around, they were diligent.
- Politically Correct History: Zig-Zagged. The movie takes place in the Disney Animated Canon, so its outlook is brighter than the real world. However, Old South attitudes are still present, if gently handled: Tiana and her mother sit in the back of the trolley and clearly live in "that" part of town. Further, the realtors selling the sugar mill Tiana wants to buy are very condescending towards her in a combination of racism and sexism at the idea of a black woman running a restaurant. However, Big Daddy Le Bouf has no qualms eating at a black-owned diner, or with his daughter marrying a Latin(ish) royal.Tiana's restaurant proudly serves and employs people of all races.