So Disney has about 10 princesses—only one of which is black—and some marketing genius decided that their lone black Princess Tiana would be perfect to sell their watermelon flavored candy.
“As usual, it’s hard to believe that anyone would intentionally make this kind of insensitive mistake, but pairing the white girl with vanilla and the black girl with watermelon should have set off an alarm in someone’s mind,” wrote Thembi Ford at Clutch Magazine.
“Perhaps the stereotype linking black folks with watermelon is too antiquated for most people to recall, but this is the kind of eye-roll-worthy mistake that happens when companies don’t go that extra step to make sure they’re not forgetting something,” Ford went on to say.
According to David Pilgrim, the curator of the Jim Crow Museum, defenders of slavery used the watermelon as a symbol of simplicity. African Americans, the argument went, were happy as slaves. They didn’t need the complicated responsibilities of freedom; they just needed some shade and a cool, delicious treat.
Sociological Images, who first broke the story, wrote, “In light of [the] history, as well as the ongoing racism, the product below — a Valentine’s Day candy that pairs two Disney princesses — is rather, let’s say, insensitive. The White Cinderella character decorates the vanilla flavored side; the Black Tiana character decorates the watermelon flavored side. Just… wow.”
So to recap, not only does Disney’s only black princess like to kiss frogs, but now she likes watermelon too?