Audrey Lee Young’s obsession with Disney runs deep, so much so, she created an online community — DisneyBonding — where she discovered a legion of women who felt similarly. Despite her adoration for the princesses, Young didn’t see many Disney princesses who looked like her.
She decided to change the narrative one photo at a time, which led to AfricanPRINTcesses. Young enlisted 13 other Black women she found on social media for a photoshoot with photographer Madeline Barr that was 3 years in the making.
“It was important to see this through because when I came up with the idea, it was literally because our group had run out of black women Disney characters to portray,” she told PopSugar. “After only TWO projects we had depleted the extent of black female Disney characters (the Muses and Princess Tiana). I said, ‘Well if there aren’t any more black Disney girls, let’s make the Disney girls black.'”
According to PopSugar, “The group came together (mostly via Instagram), picked their princesses, brainstormed outfits using traditional African prints and fabrics, then decided to plan the big reveal around Black History Month because ‘it would make a bigger impact and really showcase the point of the idea.'”
Young was right. The release of the project especially in February added to its allure. The group also took their looks to Disneyland where they were warmly received.
“At one point we finally had to leave Main Street because there were a lot of people staring and pointing as photos were being taken,” Audrey said. “All day guests were commenting on how beautiful and majestic we looked.”
Young had achieved her goal of providing the representation she felt was lacking in Disney’s land.
“For all the little girls out there who still don’t see the representation they deserve or who are still told that their black/brown skin and kinky hair are undesirable, you are beautiful princesses. The standard of beauty is YOU! You can be a mermaid, you can be a boss lady, you can be a warrior, you can be an adventurer,” Audrey said. “Dream big and dream bold.”
See more photos, here.