Karrueche Tran got dolled up as Princess Tiana for the new ColourPop x Disney Collection. Clad in a green gown, white gloves, a beautiful crown and jewels around her neck, the actress was the epitome of royalty. Tran has a few collections with the ColourPop brand, so there was no surprise that she’d show her support and enthusiasm.
People loved her rendition of the princess while others felt she was less qualified to represent an African American princess. One user said, “I love you, but like let’s have a black woman who’s mixed with black do this next time.” Another person said, “This is cute and all but I mean? Why not Mulan, something apart of your heritage lol.” Someone else said, “can brown girls have something to themselves damn.” Unbeknownst to these followers, and many others, she is indeed half black. Tran has never kept her background a secret. Her father is African American and her mother is Vietnamese. Still, Tran wasn’t black enough to represent the Disney Princess because her skin tone wasn’t brown enough. “Beautiful makeup HOWEVER Princess Tianna is black & should stay that way for all the black little girls in the World… I think Mulan would have been a better choice. Representation matters… ALOT. Love u tho.”
Representation does matter. It’s very important for our younger girls of color to see themselves in all the positive aspects of this world. Growing up, there was no Princess Tiana. The idea of diversity in the Disney corporation is fairly new. Until 2009, there were no black princesses. We grew up being black Princess Jasmines, Snow Whites, Cinderellas and Belles. Because we weren’t represented, we took these characters and made them our own. Perhaps for Tran, Princess Tiana represents her. Suggesting that she should be Mulan is insensitive as Mulan is Chinese, not Vietnamese. Simply put, Tran is half black, not half Chinese. Not a big deal to some, but if you call a Dominican a Puerto Rican, they’ll quickly correct you. As would anyone else who got addressed as something that they are not.
Is it right for us to negate what she identifies as because her skin isn’t brown enough? She’s not auditioning for a role in a movie, she spent one day dressed as a princess to celebrate the launch of a cosmetics line that she has frequently collaborated with. What do you think? Was Karrueche wrong for dressing as a black Disney star? Or are we being too sensitive?