We all know the list of Disney princesses has historically been very white. Right now, out of the 11 princesses, only four represent women of color (and they are Tiana, Jasmine, Pocahontas, and Mulan). So, of course, this is why we’re happy that Disney is finally bringing a Latina princess into the mix: Elena of Avalor, whose series will debut on July 22.
Of course, there’s always going to be controversy over Disney princesses (and rightly so), which Brook Barnes pointed out at the New York Times:
“Few matters in entertainment are as fraught as the Disney princesses … Add race and ethnicity, as Disney is increasingly doing with its cartoon heroines, and this is a minefield, especially because animation by its nature deals in caricature.”
As Slate points out, however, Elena of Avalor does actually pass the Bechdel test, which is a lot better than some of the other princesses–and she actually complains when a male suitor wants to protect her in the trailer for the series.
Unfortuantely, her arrival comes at a bad time–right when Disney might cancel the popular TV show, “Doc McStuffins,” which centers around a 7-year-old black girl, Dottie, who wants to be a doctor.
Recently, Disney failed to announce the renewal of the beloved show, which immediately caused parents to go to social media to rally for the show, including public figures like Roxane Gay and comedian W. Kamau Bell, who started the #RenewDocMcStuffins hashtag.
As of now, season 4 will premiere on July 29 and, according to this statement Disney made, the company will “deliver new episodes through late 2017/early 2018, bringing us to a total of 120 episodes.” But they have yet to announce plans for a fifth season.
It seems strange to cancel a show that is doing well–and promoting diversity. If anything, shows like these should become a staple. Hopefully, Disney will realize one new (and current) non-white character is just not enough.