Meet Anika Noni Rose: Disney’s First Black Princess
By Allie Gross
Originally posted Thursday February 19, 2009 08:30 AM EST
Jumping from the stage to the world of animation, Tony Award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose takes on her most enchanting and monumental role yet: Princess Tiana, Disney’s first black princess.
“This feels amazing,” Rose, 36, told PEOPLE this week at the Manhattan unveiling of the toy line for The Princess and the Frog. “[B]Not only is she the first black princess, she’s the first American princess. We’ve never had an American princess. So, the scope and the significance is larger than people even realize.”[/B]
Rose, who costarred with Jennifer Hudson in the 2006 film Dreamgirls, also had comforting words for her former costar, who recently suffered an overwhelming family tragedy.
“She knows she has my support and if she ever were to need me, she’s got me,” said Rose. “Sometimes you’ve just got to let people know that you’re there, and then let go, and then people come to you when they are ready.”
In the meantime, Rose is enjoying her newfound role as “Princess of America.”
“I’m not like, skipping down the street with it, but when you take a moment and you think about the fact that this is what America has chosen to put out as Princess-hood, Princess-dom, it’s amazing,” she said.
In The Princess and the Frog, set in New Orleans, Tiana’s mother is voiced by Oprah Winfrey.
Rounding out Disney’s multicultural royalty (see below) are Mulan, from China; Pocahontas, who is Native American; and, from the Middle East, Jasmine.