As everyone knows, diverse representation in the media has only become more prominent in the past 15 years or so. While it's been a long time coming, audiences are finally seeing more diversity in the characters in movies and on TV shows, and former "token" characters have developed more complex storylines or been made main characters. And while there's still a long way to go, those first few steps have made a large impact.
One such brand that has made worthy attempts at diverse representation is Disney, and audiences who grew up watching and still watch its content have noticed how things have changed, becoming more inclusive of LGBTQ+ communities and people of color. Of note is 2009's "The Princess and the Frog," which stars the first Black Disney Princess, Tiana.
Before Tiana, there were fewer characters that young Black girls could see themselves represented in on-screen. "The Princess and the Frog" shows them that they're allowed to be whoever they want to be, including a princess, a hero, the main character, and much more than they'd seen before.
Anika Noni Rose, who voices the famous princess, did an interview on "The Jennifer Hudson Show" where she spoke about Tiana's legacy. Much progress has been made since the film's release over 10 years ago, but Tiana is one of the first to change it all, becoming a staple in pop culture.
"You were the first Black Disney princess ever!" Hudson exclaimed among a cheering crowd. She then asked Rose what that means to her, and Rose naturally gushed. After all, it's an extremely significant role, and it's no secret that Tiana shaped a generation of children. She represents a new princess, one who is independent, who works hard, and who gets her prince unexpectedly.
"It is still one of the most amazing things. It remains that," Rose replied. She then addressed her character's permanent stamp on history: "The fact that Princess Tiana will be there long after I'm gone, that she will be a part of Americana, in a space that I don't think any of us thought that we would be able to take up, it says a lot to children, it says a lot to little brown children."
In an interview with the Sioux City Journal, Rose reflected that same sentiment: "She looks very much like me and I can turn 92 and there will always be that version of me. It's phenomenal." We couldn't be gladder.