Disney fans accuse 'Wreck-It Ralph' sequel of whitewashing Princess Tiana — and they have photographic evidence

Gwynne Watkins
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Disney’s princesses lounging around in Ralph Breaks the Internet. (Image: Disney)

Nine years after she turned into a frog, Princess Tiana has undergone another strange transformation.

The Princess and the Frog heroine, still Disney’s only African-American princess, makes a cameo appearance in Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 alongside her fellow animated royals. The princess scene was featured in a Wreck-It Ralph 2 trailer released in June, and appeared once again in a different trailer released last week. In the new clip, the 14 princesses have changed from their signature costumes into sleepover-ready pajamas… but that’s not the only change fans are seeing in Tiana.

Watch the new trailer:


On Twitter, some of Tiana’s fans are pointing out that her hair and skin appear lighter in the new trailer, that her nose has been narrowed, and that her “natural” sleepover hair doesn’t look like natural black hair at all. Many didn’t even recognize her at first glance in the trailer. Has Disney’s sole black princess been whitewashed?

Others are making similar observations about Pocahontas’s look in the trailer.

But Tiana’s appearance is the more controversial one — especially in terms of her hair, which according to multiple African-American women on Twitter, would not transition from a straightened updo to the shoulder-length curls seen in the trailer. Not to mention, she’d be wrapping her hair before she goes to sleep. (For illustrations, here’s a good thread from @InspectorNerd.)

Many of the critiques of Tiana’s appearance are coming from female artists of color, of whom there appears to be a shortage at Disney Animation.

And several women reminded Disney that the criticism comes from a place of love; Tiana means a lot to them, and they care about accurate representation.

At press time, Disney had yet to comment on the perceived changes to Tiana’s appearance.

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 opens on Nov. 21. 

Watch: Disney’s princesses reveal how their epic Wreck-It Ralph reunion came together:

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