“There’s a New Princess in Town”

This morning, I got to check-out Sunday’s edition of USA Weekend, an insert in the Chicago Sun-Times, as well as in another one of my favorite weekend papers, The Herald- Palladium. [If I’m reading it, that means I’m in beautiful Southwest Michigan. The very thought of that makes me very happy.]

The cover story? “Meet Disney’s First Black PRINCESS.” [All-caps’-type was theirs. “PRINCESS” was in a bright red font.]

The headline of the story? “There’s a New Princess in Town.” [“Princess” in blue type, this time.]

And who is that princess, but Anika Noni Rose, star of Dreamgirls, and, most recently, of the smash–and (my) girlfriends’ favorite–the HBO series: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.

Disney’s choice of Anika Noni Rose made me very happy.

Anika Noni Rose is very, very smart, funny, beautiful, intense, and sensitive. She’s fit, in ever way, to be a queen, much less just a princess.

One has to wonder why it took until 2009 for Disney to select its “first black princess,” though, upon a moment’s reflection, it’s obvious: “Black (wasn’t) beautiful,” in the eyes of too, too many, for hundreds of years, too-too-long.

But, today, Michelle Obama, an African-American woman from the South Side of Chicago, is the First Lady, (and what are “first ladies,” after all, but royalty), living in the White House, by many lights the most important house in the world, a palace, if you will.

And, besides, she sure is princess-like–white ballgown, diamond bracelets, beautiful hair, and all.

So, I go to some of Ms. Rose’s comments in the USA Weekend story:

“It’s just so magnificent [to be playing the “first black Disney princess”]….It’s wonderful to be a part of this moment, the recognition of beauty outside of what has been the standard blond hair and blue eyes.”

Speaking of “standard blond hair and blue eyes,” I’ve never had either, either, but I sure do remember trying.

I remember, waaaay too vividly, the blond-hair-dye, kinky-hair-straightener, orange-juice-cans-as-hair-rollers of my teenage years. I remember trying, desperately, to get that “standard blond hair” you had to have, if you were ever going to have a shot at being a princess. [And we didn’t even dream about being queens.]

That was 40 years ago. Think of how many American girls with kinky brown hair have tried that horrible combo since then.

So, here’s to the new generation of American female royalty: Michelle, Anika, Anika’s fabulous co-stars, Jennifer Hudson, Jill Scott and Beyonce Knowles, and to every other American girl–African-American, Jewish, or otherwise–born with kinky brown hair.






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