From the minute Disney announced the first African American princess movie, 'The Princess and the Frog,' the buzz has been building. And so has the concern.
Disney's history of racial sensitivity in their cartoons caused eyebrows to be raised early on, and with good reason -- having waited this long to produce a film starring an African American princess, the pressure was on Disney to come correct. Every little detail of this particular princess will be analyzed, criticized, and committed to history. The film will open for an advance special engagement in New York and Los Angeles from November 25 to December 13 (click here for those special tickets), and will open nationwide December 11. I'm going to reserve judgment until I've seen the film itself. So in the meantime, allow me to unabashedly gush about what Disney's already done right.
For super special 'The Princess and The Frog' merchandise, Disney's teamed with one of my favorite brands, Carol's Daughter for a truly magical beauty collection.
I was lucky enough to catch up with Carol's Daughter creator Lisa Price to get her feelings about this inspiring awesomeness. It was so inspiring to hear how this came about, and how this little company that could has managed to become part of Disney history. And to find out straight from Lisa herself that her mother's parents were from Trinidad? This island bella felt very proud all around.
How crazy has it been for Price to go from making beauty products in her kitchen, to the shelves at Sephora, and now to doing official products for Disney's first African American princess?
"Well, it was a big deal to hear that there was going to be an African American princess, period. And then to hear we were in the running to create products to go with the film, it's like almost more than you want to think about," she said. "Then there was so much work to do, you're just focused on the work. Coming up with the fragrances and the design and making sure everything's perfect... It wasn't until I saw the labels on a board here at the office that it hit me - Disney and Carol's Daughter. It would have brought tears to my eyes just to see an African American Disney princess, but then to be part of this, it's been amazing."
Lisa was particularly enthusiastic about the opportunity, because Disney had been a part of her life as a child. She knew and understood the significance of Princess Tianna to future generations of little black girls.
"Being someone who grew up with Disney movies, who loved Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, I loved the stories and the animation, but I didn't know how to identify with them. I remember asking Santa to bring me long blonde hair like Cinderella's. It wasn't that I didn't like myself, but I believed that that was what beauty was. That's what a princess looked like. So its nice to know that little girls don't have to feel that way if thy don't look that way," she said.
And Lisa took the time to set me straight on an assumption I'd made from seeing the early sketches -- "Tiana's hair is actually textured - it s not straight. They have to be careful as well, with that particular depiction."
Appropriately, the Carol's Daughter products for The Princess and The Frog are beauty staples Princess Tiana would most likely use. "The Beauty Within" shampoo includes aloe leaf juice, "Inner Shine" conditioner uses sunflower seed, olive, and sweet almond oils. The "Dream Big" hair detangler is my favorite -- glycerine, aloe, and castor oil would give my hair supreme slickability, and the "sharing means caring" bubble bath offers a delicious water lily-scented afternoon of decadence. But I struggled. Do I use this stuff, or do I keep the bottles in tact? The packaging is so adorable!
I shared my struggle with Lisa -- to open or not to open? She didn't make my decision any easier. "Well, its a beautiful bottle you want to keep and save because it's a collectors item, but then when you get past that it's a product that performs. We tested them, not just on kids, but on adults, and these are pediatrician-tested products that don't include harsh detergents. We used a water-lily accord fragrance, not too overpowering. So
if mom wants to feel like a princess along with her daughter, she'll like these products as well."
The Magical Beauty Collection ranges from $8 to $62 and is available on CarolsDaughter.com.