The animated film, slated for a March 27 release, follows Tip who is befriended by an alien or a Boov named Oh (voiced by The Big Bang Theory‘s Jim Parsons). Together they head on a mission to prevent the Boovs’ evil leader Captain Smek from his planned alien takeover. If you’ve seen the trailer, Tip is prominently featured and Riri’s voice sounds adorable, but DreamWorks decided against using Tip as a focal point in the advertisements for the movie. Were they afraid of alienating White children or their parents, who would be taking them to see Home? We hope that’s not the case.
Once promotion got underway, Black sites realized that the film had a Black girl with cute curly hair as its lead and that caused excitement that young Black children, and definitely Black girls, would be able to see themselves the big on-screen. It’s been six years since Disney’s The Princess and The Frog was released, and Tiana, voiced by Anika Noni Rose, was the story’s first Black princess. That fact was used as a push and Black families and children came out to support the Oscar-nominated film, and it was a box-office win.
Some social media users have noted that when Tip was included in the posters, they were seen in specific neighborhoods that were more ethnically diverse or populated, such as Atlanta. Other cities and places where there are Caucasian residents like Cali’s Sunset Boulevard, only had Oh and Tip’s mischievous cat shown.
For now, we can’t point a finger on the intention of not having Tip in every ad or poster, but considering this is DreamWorks’ first Black character and she’s the lead, here’s hoping children of all color feel that they’ve found a new buddy (’cause that Frozen reign won’t let up!)