The first animated African American princess movie is ready to leap into homes across the country. Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” is available Wednesday on DVD. Tony-award winning actress Anika Noni Rose — the voice of the character Princess Tiana — talked with Suite 411 about how the movie could affect future generations of children.
How do you feel about being the voice of the first Disney African American princess?
She’s a real young woman. There is something very true about her, which was very important to me while playing her. It is really quite amazing because the differences that could happen because of this movie are mind opening. Twenty years from now, we can see these children who grew up with this princess and what their mindset is when they cast a school play.
How did you feel when you first saw clips of the movie?
I thought I was going to choke on my tears. I could not believe that I was looking at this Disney face that looked like me. I’m still undone about this thing. It is so mammoth. I will be long gone and they will be opening the Disney vault and children will be able to see it.
Do you think boys would enjoy the movie?
My four-year-old nephew loved this movie. We’ve got several male characters including crazy Naveen, Louis the alligator, the firefly and Dr. Facilier. It is very boy friendly and adventurous. It is one of the more adventurous princess films. We don’t usually get to be adventurous as princesses. That is a fun aspect of it that we forget that boys love.
Do you have a preference for film or stage?
I enjoy them both for the differences and similarities. Stage is in the heart of me. It is the place that I make real this make believe thing that we do. It allows me to step into film hopefully better than the last time that you saw me.
What do you hope parents and kids take away from the movie?
I hope that kids come away with the feeling that they can accomplish anything they put their minds to. I am living proof that is true.
For parents, one thing that I definitely hope they take away is that we have to support our children. We have to tell them that we believe in them. If you don’t tell them, they don’t know. When they know, you allow them to soar because they know that somebody is always behind them.