Now why is Tiana in it!?

I’m going to pull a quote from Amaya Janelle and I’s book, Um, Do Not Call Me Sis, before I begin. What was written in that book applies so much to the situation here. 


“Not all, but far too many white women and enbies have no interest in feminism beyond whiteness. The concept of feminism, which should be a unifying force to promote gender equality, has not been shown truthfully by all white women and enbies; this is why people of color often don’t want to deal with white tears and fragility. You all cry when you aren’t the main focus every so often, as if you haven’t been the main focus since the beginning of the creation of Western live-action film, animation, and, of course, dolls. Whiteness is your default, and you confirm it by complaining about and ignoring things centered and made for people of color.”

I am pretty much over the discourse regarding racebending and our entertainment because I already said what needed to be told about it years ago, along with the fact that people legit don’t want to unlearn their bigotry. However, the last week on social media made me even more disappointed with everyone because all of what happened could have been avoided.


There was a fancast for a live-action Tangled film, and some said they thought an Indian actor named Avantika would make an excellent fit for the main character. None of this was official, nor was it uncommon because people make fan casts all the time. Because people don’t know how to fact-check, they thought it was official that Avantika would be Rapunzel. 


Next thing we know, white women are throwing a fit over this fancast and have decided to harass an Indian woman. Mind you, Avantika already has to deal with enough harassment for playing Karen in the new Mean Girls film.


What happened here was a classic case of white woman tears. When white women feel like they are the victims in a situation, they will often cry and pled to act as if they weren’t in the wrong. To be clear, this person cried as a way to cover up their racism. They wanted sympathy from the viewers to make it seem as if Avantika had done something wrong (she didn’t) and shift the blame onto her instead. 


I made an entire video in 2022 about how fandom has white woman tears problems, and I still stand by it because situations relating to these two factors continue to happen.  


A few days later, promotional material for Brandy reprising her role as Cinderella for the new Descendants film was released. She was hit with racist backlash as people were upset that Cinderella would be Black again. Mind you, people have been complaining about Brandy being Cinderella since the 90s. To this day, she is still getting hate for this role because talented Black women make too many white people uncomfortable. 



And what do you know? After all of this, the tired debate of, “If this princess can be of color, then Tiana can be white,” comes back around. 


And the quote from the legendary NeNe Leakes, “Now why am I in it?”


Let’s stop right there.


Let’s address this talking point right now.

Tangled, a film with a white female lead, released the year after The Princess and the Frog, a film with a black female lead, not only overshadowed the movie but also its main character, Tiana. It's disheartening to see Tiana not receiving the same level of praise as Rapunzel, especially outside of the Black community. While we know many Black people appreciate Tiana, it's painfully clear on social media that the majority of people prefer which princess, given the overwhelming amount of fan content for Rapunzel. This disparity in recognition is not an exaggeration; it's the harsh reality of race and America.



I’m going to be extremely blunt with this: racist people don’t actually f*ck with Tiana. 

You know what? Maybe if Tiana were white, racists would actually cherish her.

The sad truth is that those who bring up Tiana in these discussions don’t honestly care about her. They use her as a convenient talking point without having seen The Princess and the Frog, read her comic book or Twisted Tales novel, or even acknowledged the whitewashing of her character in Ralph Breaks The Internet. Their interest in Tiana seems only to surface when it’s time to criticize another woman of color, a disheartening reality.

Could Disney have done a better job with Tiana? Yes.

But also, do I really believe those who complain about characters not being white go out and watch projects about people of color because they scream about them online? Absolutely not. It has been proven time and time again that white people will often tell people of color to make their own original stories (like The Princess and the Frog), but when those original stories get made, they will find some way to bitch about them or not look at them at all. You don’t care about people of color’s representation in our media. So stop bringing Tiana up for your dry talking points, pretending that you like her. You all have no issue with ignoring her until the debate of race and film is brought up, so continue to do so when the topic comes to light.


Thank you all so much for reading. If you are interested in more of my writing, me and Amaya Janelle's new book Um, Do Not Call Me Sis, is now available for purchase! Offered in paperback, ebook, and audiobook. 

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