Concerns Over Princess and The Frog Stereotyping Allayed By Introduction of Mama Odie the Swamp Witch Doctor


We'll admit to having had a knee-jerk reaction to some of the early teaser footage released by Disney of their forthcoming and much-ballyhooed return to hand-drawn animation, The Princess and the Frog, which struck us as hopping a little too close to the outdated-caricature pond for our tastes.

(To say nothing of the plot, which revolves largely around the romantic adventures of two lily-dwelling amphibians -- not exactly the most engaging of protagonists.) Can't say a new Disney Channel sneak preview has done much to reassure us, introducing a new character to the mix that already includes Louis the trumpet-playing alligator and Ray the crooked-toothed, generally retarded-seeming Cajun firefly: Meet Mama Odie, the blind, 200-year-old "magical fairy godmother" with a "seeing-eye snake" who might have easily been the mascot for popular turn-of-the-century pantry product, Mama Odie's Sambocakes and Waffle Batter. [YouTube]


  • NoWireHangers says:

    Mama Odie is sure to join the ranks of other beloved characters like Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and the Cream of Wheat guy.

  • JudgeFudge says:

    Ah, wise, sage old Mama Odie. She knows things that none of us ever could. Such a character. Thanks Disney.

  • JudgeFudge says:

    Mudflap and Skids are CGI - so, they won't be making an appearance in this movie, I take it?

  • TimGunn says:

    Seemed like a lot of cells left uncolored. Hope they finish before December.

  • jon says:

    So is the only appropriate option to have a movie full of "black" characters with homogeneous teeth, diction, profession, and other attributes?
    I understand the concern, but what is your vision of success here? And how long are characters who conform to any stereotype out-of-bounds?

  • el smrtmnky says:

    can't wait for the Popeye's tie-ins

  • ike says:

    new orleans isn't magical or exciting. it smells of vomit, stale beer and sewage. can't wait to leave.

  • Lowbrow says:

    The Princess and the Frog possible movie poster taglines:
    Mama Odie. There Goes the Neighborhood!
    Mama Odie. Before Obama, There Was Mama!
    Mama Odie. Her Snake Ssssees Everything!
    Mama Odie. Let Mama Handle the Drama!

  • David Davies says:

    'This non-honky Grandma be trippin!'

  • Daniel says:

    oncerns my ass! you are just one of those dumbass people who like to make a big deal out of nothing. It's a disney film about princess and magic. That's all there is to it! Get over yourself already! GEEZ!

  • Liz says:

    No, no, no. Here is the difference:
    Caricatures-of-color in the midst of a movie populated by nuanced white characters = BAD.
    Caricatures-of-color in the midst of a movie populated by nuanced characters-of-color = FINE AND DANDY.

  • Liz says:

    P.S. I am a Brown so what I says goes. Clearly. 0_o LOL.

  • Hoshino Ai says:

    I have to say, I am extremely happy that this movie is coming out in the first place. ^_^ While Tiana may not be the first BLACK Disney princess (sorry,I still think it's Kida, from Disney's Atlantis), she is the first Black AMERICAN, and I know this is a HUGE step for not just the Black Americans here, but for all little girls who want and need someone to look up to. For Mama Odie, people have to realize the time period of this movie...New Orleans in the 1920's. Was voodoo practiced there? Yes. Where there mostly Black American older women who practiced it and mostly helped others with it? Yes. So please, get over the complaining and enjoy the movie for what it will be...a magical telling of a story that EVERYONE will love, no matter your color. ^_^ Thanks again Disney for doing this, and best of luck. ^_~v

  • Windstorm says:

    I am still holding out hope for this movie. Who knows, maybe it will surprise us and turn out to be good afterall.

  • Jennifer says:

    the Cream of Wheat guy
    That would be Rastus. You should see the kind of posters they made w/him back in the day.
    As for this, I'm so sick of people seeing this and STILL making excuses and plans to see this piece of garbage. Have some pride, geez. Just because Disney FINALLY decided we're good enough to be princesses doesn't mean we should be holding them to "good enough" standards.

  • Louis Jones says:

    Ok, I must say that initially I didn't want to see the film based on many peoples perception of what they thought the movie would be. But I have to truly say that being of this culture (Haitian/Creole) by way of New orleans, Delhi Louisanna, I was not offended. It seems that many of the Black Americans that are commenting are not familiar with this particular southern culture. Disney did an excellent job at depicting and researching cultures historically. Too many Blacks are walking around wanting to dis-identify themselves with history and with the truth of looking in the mirror. First off there were two sides of Vodum represented. There was the Shadow man who was the dark side of Vodum and then Mama Odie which represented the good side of Vodum. Secondly the Firefly and his family were not Blacks, but Cajun whites. Rarely in the bayous would you every see a snaggletoothed black with straight brisles of hair, but you would see many white cajuns who truly speak this way. Ex- the pace picante sauce man, he however was the more proper acceptable version of a white cajun. Then you have Louis the alligator who had a bluesy muscians accent of that era. Blacks aren't ever satisfied with anything and if Disney would have presented some upty bojou' black family, then many still would have been offended.......Get over it, because the truth is when we blacks are tripping off our own issues, most whites don't see it the racist way we want them to. Besides, its a darned cartoon that folks are taking it to heart.

  • Louis Jones says:

    Oh I'm not finished. When America tuned into the Cosby show, we weren't happy with that show either. Many Blacks complained about it not being realistic, well sorry. I was one of those Black kids who had a Psychiatrist as a mother and my dad was Director of the port of Oakland, and when we lived in NYC we had a Big Brownstone. But no many black complained about the Cosby's. We have to realize that every effort we make at establishing an existence in America is a positive one. This could have been a shoot um up movie of some ghetto extreme sista speaking ebonics. Oops I guess we would have been more satisfied with that dipiction of our culture.
    The princess and the frog had great family morals that every culture could relate to. The father spoke of hard work, and faith, the mother spoke of love, the daughter spoke determination, tradition and respect, mama Odie spoke of love and true understanding of self, firefly Ray spoke on hope and loyalty until the end, Louis the gator spoke on perserverance and believing that your dreams can come true. Shadow man let you know that greed will get you nowhere.
    so stop trippin' enjoy what you can learn from a fictional story, because when it comes down to it, your children have an unadultarated view and enjoyed the movie for its lessons rather than its racial make believed parental views.

  • samma says:

    Louis Jones you had the most intelligent and well thought out comments of this entire post and I want to thank you for the time and effort you put into it. No matter what your color it should be time to put away differences and just enjoy the movie for the positive message it's sending out! Beating a dead horse will not get you any further than the spot you're standing in. Let's move forward and live life in peace!

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