Meet Nickelodeon’s New Biracial, Princess-Knight Nella

February 9, 2017  |  

We’ve written before about the power and importance of representation, particularly in the content created for children. I think that our generation, children growing up in the 90’s were the first to see more characters of color in their programming. But those characters were often secondary or sidekicks. They might have had an episode or two dedicated to them once a season but it was always made very clear that they were sidekicks.

Though we have some way to go, children of this generation are blessed with more characters of color in the forefront. And now Nickelodeon has added another one to the list: “Nella The Princess Knight”

The cartoon, which premiered on Nickelodeon this past Monday is, as the title suggests, both a princess and a knight. So she wears big, frilly dresses and swings a sword and protects herself with armor.

Nina Hahn, Senior Vice President of International Production for Nickelodeon told Huffington Post, “There are a lot of princesses out there and we had to think about what would make a Nickelodeon princess unique. What became crystal clear to us in the development process is that Nella didn’t have to be a princess or a knight–she could be both.”

Nella’s gender-rule-breaking background is not the only thing unique about her. So is her racial background. Nella is biracial with a White mother and a Black father. Hahn said the decision to make her biracial was to make her “representative of what the world looks like to kids today.”

That sentiment is backed up with data. According to the New York Times, by 2020, most children under 12 will be nonwhite. And now, already 17 percent of children are biracial.

Hahn said of the character, “We have a strong girl lead, but the big ideas for the show—to be courageous, have empathy for others and trust your inner voice—are universal.”

You can watch clips of Nella in action in the videos below.

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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