The latest royal decree from Disney? ‘Sofia the First,’ the first Latina princess!
And she has blue eyes and auburn hair?
Yes, so don’t pull out the horse drawn carriage and the ball gown just yet -- many twitter fans aren’t so pleased. As heroines like Pocahontas, Jasmine, Mulan, and Tiana gradually added more diversity to a long list of Disney Princesses, Disney lovers began wondering when a Latina character would hit the big screen.
When the news broke this week, some celebrated the long awaited addition while others questioned Disney’s physical portrayal of a ‘Latina’ princess and the decision to not emphasize her heritage. (Check out the Tweets Above)
Sofia’s fair complexion, light eyes, and reddish-brown hair have many questioning if her character is one the Latino community can relate to.
Wake me up when Disney's first #Latina princess looks like me 😜smh
— Carmelina Vargas (@carmelinamusic) October 19, 2012
Most of us Latinas have tint our skin if you're going to make a Latina Disney Princess make her more relatable to our race
— Damaris Lima(@__lusciouslima) October 19, 2012
Disney may not be bringing the Latina princess to the silver screen, but the movie “Sofia the First: Once Upon A Princess” will be premiering on Disney Channel on November 18, followed by a 2013 television series on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.
During the press tour of the TV movie, geared toward kids ages 2 to 7, a blogger pointed out that Miranda, Sofia’s mother voiced by "Grey’s Anatomy’s" Sara Ramirez, had a darker complexion than the other characters. To which executive producer Jamie Mitchell responded, “She is Latina.”
In the movie, Sofia (voiced by Ariel Winter of "Modern Family") is a regular girl who must learn to adjust to her new royal lifestyle after her mother marries King Roland II of Enchancia. But while the new princess learns the ropes at her new school Royal Prep, Disney isn’t planning on placing her ethnicity center-stage. (Check out the trailer below)
“We never actually call it out,” Joe D’Ambrosia, vice president of Disney Junior original programming told Entertainment Weekly. “When we go into schools [to talk to young students about the show], what I find fascinating is that every girl thinks that they’re Sofia.”
On Friday, Today news anchor Natalie Morales said that, as a fair skinned Puerto Rican woman, she can relate to this depiction of a Latina.
"In my opinion, as a Latina, this is something I've had many people say," Morales said on NBC’s morning show. "'You're Puerto Rican? You don't look Puerto Rican.' What does a Puerto Rican look like? There are so many different kinds of Hispanic -- blonde, green, blue eyes -- we come with all colors and types."
Fans that agree with Morales point out that a light complexion isn’t the problem with the way Disney is presenting their Latina princess.
@latina There are fair-skinned Latinas ... What's problematic is Disney saying they made her blanquita so kids could identify with her. =(
— Sabrina Vourvoulias (@followthelede) October 19, 2012
When Disney presented Tiana, Disney's first African-American Princess, in “The Princess and The Frog” (2009) a producer emphasized the pivotal role her heritage had on the movie making process.
“We wanted her to bear the traits of African-American women and be truly beautiful,” producer Peter Del Vecho told The New York Times.
The fact that Disney doesn’t seem to want to do the same with Sofia has Latino activists like Lisa Navarrete upset.
“But with Sofia, it’s like, ‘Oh, by the way, she’s Latina.' That just doesn’t make any sense. It really bothers me,” the spokeswoman for La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy organization, told The Daily.com.
Take a look at the trailer and let us know what you think. Is Sofia a true Latina Disney Princess?