My family went to see Disney’s hit movie Frozen this weekend. It was really amazing. And by amazing I mean the little four-year-old girl inside of me put on a princess dress and crown, grabbed a magic wand, danced around in circles and swooned for an hour and a half. It was that good from start to finish. But, at some point, I glanced around the theater and noticed the two other brown or black families. Then I became an adult again. And I got sad.
The movie’s powerful messages of self-acceptance, overcoming bullying, succeeding in the face of stigmatization, and remaining true to one’s self seemed to fit almost perfectly with the conversations us brown and black mothers have to have with our little girls almost daily. I think Disney may have missed an opportunity to really make a difference with this film. Or, they just chose not to touch it. Either way, little black and brown girls continue to exist on the periphery of the American fairytale.
During the movie, my two-year old tuned in an out. At times she was fully engrossed in the popcorn rather than in the giant screen in front of us. But, whenever the singing geared up, she was at full attention. She was wide-eyed and absorbing every moment of it.
The signature ballad for the Snow Queen, performed by Wicked‘s Idina Menzel, was gorgeous, instilled hope and wonder, and was sung flawlessly. During the song, there was a moment when I could see the same youthful exuberance and inspiration in my little one’s eyes that I must have had when I first saw Cinderella a quarter of a century ago. Like me, she was seeing not just the animation but the messages of hope it imbued. Those messages, however, were coming from a gorgeous blonde character surrounded by other sparkly-eyed white figures. None of them looked like us. So, was the message really for us too?
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