Disney Is Developing Its First Movie With An African Princess In The Lead

illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Everyone remembers their favorite Disney princess, and the corresponding bookbags and bed sheets and toys that we just needed to own (not to mention these pies). But it’s no secret that, for a long time, girls of color couldn’t identify with a Disney princess that looked like them. Disney has tried to correct this oversight with films like Moana and The Princess and the Frog, but we’re finally getting a true African princess to helm her own fairy tale. And her name is Sadé.
Deadline reports that Disney has just greenlit Sadé, a live-action film about a warrior princess in Africa. Naturally, as a princess, she oversees her kingdom and uses her magical powers to defend her home from evil. She’ll have some help along with the way: the kingdom’s prince will be her sidekick, and along with an animal best friend, because all Disney princesses have an animal BFF. We would love it if Nala, the true boss of Simba’s pride, made an appearance to chase some enemies off the Serengeti plains.
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We don’t have any more details about Sadé, but we know it’s an original Disney fairy tale. Deadline also reports that the creators are Lindsey Reed Palmer and Ola Shokunbi, who will write the story. This will be the first major screenplay for Shokunbi and Palmer, and they’ll be helming a story that, you know, will be a huge part of young girls’ childhoods for years to come. No pressure!
As for the cast? No announcements have been made, but since it’s a live-action movie, we’d love to see lots of unknown actors of color, specifically actors from Africa. Disney has a wonderful opportunity to tell a story that hasn’t been told, and to bring it to life with actors who will do justice to these roles — both culturally and performatively. We’ll just rewatch Frozen and Pocahontas until this movie comes out.
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