Arriba for a Latina princess…finally!
Disney has finally created a 16-year-old princess, named Elena, who will have her own Disney Junior show in 2016. First, she’ll be introduced in an upcoming episode of another Disney Junior show called Sofia the First. Sofia was often mistaken for being a Latina character, but Disney clarified explaining that Sofia was not Latina and that a Latina heroine was currently being developed. The fabulous Miami-born Dominican, Aimee Carrero, will voice the princess. Aimee currently stars on ABC Family’s hit TV show, Young and Hungry.
Princess Elena is “inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore” according to Disney. She’ll be the star of her own series called, Elena of Avalor, The executive vice president and general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide, Nancy Kanter, said during the announcement of the princess:
“What excited us most is the chance to use distinctive animation and visual design to tell wonderful stories influenced by culture and traditions that are familiar to the worldwide population of Hispanic and Latino families and reflect interests and aspirations of all children as told through a classic fairy tale.”
It’s a big step for Disney to finally represent the variety of culture in our country, but is Elena the Latina princess we’ve been waiting for? Sure, the princess will hopefully cultivate confidence in young viewers and may seem like a victory for many Latinas everywhere, but is the Latina princess’s background too broad? Latinos, although very similar in some ways, are also all very different. From food, slang, accents, and everything in-between, no two South American or Central American cultures are identical. Elena being, “inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore” may be too much of a generalization. However, it is exciting that Disney has finally decided to include a Latina princess, and I am interested to see how she will be portrayed on screen. It may prove to be a bit troublesome for Disney to consolidate so many cultures into one character. Despite the concerns, I think we should definitely celebrate our victories.
Congrats, Disney, for the big step, and may many more join Elena in the future. Who knows, maybe the next step is seeing a Disney Latina princess hit the big screen. Either way, “Bienvenida, Elena. We’re excited to see you soon.”