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Disney Acquires Rights to Sadé, Their First African Princess

You guys, this is amazing!

Disney's iconic logo

Deadline is reporting that Disney Animation Studios has acquired the pitch for Sadé, a fairytale centered on an African princess. The idea was created by writers Ola Shokunbi and Lindsay Reed Palmer, who will co-write the screenplay; Dope director Rick Famuyiwa is attached as producer. Deadline reports that Scott Falconer will serve as an executive producer, with Tendo Nagenda and Zoe Kent overseeing the project for Disney.

The plot will focus on a young girl named Sadé, who accepts her newly discovered powers when her kingdom is threatened by a mysterious evil. Along with the kingdom’s prince, she goes on an adventure that will help her save her kingdom, as well as find out what makes her special. It’s a decidedly Disney plot, which is wonderful; we could use some more Disney magic in our lives, especially since the setting is no longer “generic mostly white European country.”

Disney’s princesses tend to be white, with only a few exceptions. In 2009, Disney broke new ground with their first Black princess, Tiana, in The Princess and the Frog. There was some backlash to the film, as Tiana spent a majority of the film as a frog, which some felt took away from the importance of having a Black princess. This film will hopefully learn from that mistake and keep Sadé human for a majority of the film.

Diverse films, especially ones led by Black actors, are seeing critical acclaim and big returns at the box office, as shown by recent smash hits such as Black Panther, Get Out, and Girls Trip. Representation matters, and people are starting to demand it through their tickets. Disney is wise to start investing in better, more unique, and more diverse ideas that aren’t just the same characters in a slightly different setting. Sadé, especially as a follow up to Moana, is a perfect way to restart a Disney Renaissance with a wide array of new princesses, characters, and worlds.

We’re looking forward to this film and how it develops.

(Source: Deadline; image: Disney)

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Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.