College of Communication Master of Arts Theses

Date of Award

Winter 3-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Kelly Kessler

Second Advisor

Dr. Ann Russo

Third Advisor

Prof. Kimberlee Perez


The Walt Disney Company released The Princess and the Frog in 2009 to much anticipation and equal antagonism; the movie features the princess franchise’s first Black princess. In the spirit of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, the studio touts the movie as a throwback to the classic era of Disney, but with an updated spin. Disney suggests that the marriage of classic and modern speaks to a return to hand-drawn animation and unlike the original story The Frog Prince, this princess becomes a frog, as well. This project argues, however, that framing The Princess and the Frog within the context of a “modern twist on a classic tale” has multiple meanings and is ultimately problematic due to the movie’s reliance on old hegemonic film characterizations of Black womanhood that promotes whiteness and assimilation, while simultaneously suppressing Blackness. In recent years, popular culture and media have made a greater effort to include the narratives and very existence of Black women in its texts. The increasing spotlight on the intricacies of Black women and their lives calls into question who and what ideologies that recognition serves. This paper interrogates media makers’ negotiation with the history of representations of Black people and modern Blackness in the shadows of the United States first Black president and his family.

Included in

Communication Commons