Sadé: The African Disney Princess Breaking the Mould

Image: Film Company Walt Disney Pictures / AF archive / Alamy Stock Photo

Following Black Panther’s success, and its record-breaking sales, it appears that the demand for representation in the film industry is finally slowly being met as more and more mainstream production companies are exploring stories that resonate with black communities.

Recently, according to The Deadline, it has been revealed that Disney will also be embracing African culture through the introduction of a brand new African Disney Princess.

Joining the legendary Princess community (which began in 1937 with the very first Disney Princess movie) is Sadé, a young African girl, who after receiving her powers, battles against evil mystical forces to protect herself and her kingdom.

With help from an African Prince, she embarks on many adventures, to ensure the safety of her community and to defeat those that come in her way.

According to writers at The Deadline, Sadé – pronounced ‘Shah-deh’ (a name typically found in the Yoruba tribe), will be based on an original idea created by screenwriters  Ola Shokunbi and Lindsey Reed Palmer, and will be directed by Nigerian-American, Rick Famuyiwa, most famous for his films Dope, Brown Sugar and Flash.

The live-action movie will follow the lead of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, played by Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, and said to have made over $1 billion dollars in sales, according to the Universal Box Office.

It is predicted that Sadé could similarly generate the billion dollars plus in sales that Marvel’s Black Panther did if it receives the same level of support from the black community.

Unlike some of Disney’s previous works, Princess Sadé will not be introduced as a cartoon Princess, but will rather go straight to film.

The movie will not be the first time Disney has stepped forward to portray a lead character from a minority. Sadé will join a growing class of lead princesses which include Native American Princess Pocahontas, Mulan, and Princess Jasmine. However, it was in  2010 that Disney had for the first time, debuted a black female lead in the form of Princess Tiana, Disney’s first black princess.

Centered around the vibrant culture of New Orleans, Disney told the story of a hard-working young woman with the dream of one day owning her own restaurant.

Heavily influenced by Haitian Culture, Disney focused on the intricate details of the New Orlean’s experience through animation’s references to Voodoo, Gumbo, and rhythm and blues, to tell the story of what a real Disney Princess from New Orleans would likely encounter.

Known for shaping the childhoods of many young women all over the world, Disney’s representation of a Nigerian Princess has the potential to further increase global awareness of the vibrant and energetic values of African culture.

Just think…how many of us growing up, would have thought that there would one day be a Nigerian Disney Princess.