V Opinion: Princess and the Frog Does Race Right... Mostly

Disney has a lot riding on its first animated Black princess. It's long overdue. So naturally Princess and the Frog received backlash from the start-from the princess' chambermaid occupation to the fairer-skinned prince to the Madea-esque Cajun firefly companion. Ultimately, though, these are minor details in a film that mostly gets it right.

Set in New Orleans, the story is a typical Disney rags to riches tale. But compared to other franchise tiara-holders like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose) is a bit more ambitious. She's a waitress (not a chambermaid) hell bent on achieving her late father's dream of opening a restaurant called Tiana's Place; he tells her as a child to "never lose sight of what's important," which is the gist of the story.

While working toward that goal, Tiana encounters a few mishaps and friends along the way, including a neurotic trumpet-wielding alligator, the aforementioned firefly Raymond, and of course the prince, Naveen of Maldonia, whom a voodoo-practicing Shadow Man (the bad guy) has transformed into a frog. Been there, done that. The Disney template is all you need to figure out how the frog-prince plot thickens, although there are a few tweaks.

On the firefly with the Chiclet grill: His accent may be wince-worthy to some until you realize it's not much of a departure from how people in that region really speak (Lil Boosie anyone?). As a cartoon, this is literally a caricature, and the discomfort with the character subsides as his storyline develops. Hint: it involves a girl!

There is some incongruity in that the princess is so independent and goal-oriented for such a traditional setting. In fact, it's her BFF Charlotte--a spoiled blonde brat with a penchant for sayings like "pretty as a magnolia in May" and "sweating like a sinner in church"--who wants to settle with a man. In lieu of a cliché neck-snapping Black friend, Charlotte is refreshing.

One could argue that the Southern setting lets the filmmakers get away with such things as voodoo men and broken accents. If it were New York, for example, more discretion would be advised. But the most important thing is that Princess and the Frog has a sense of humor and, firefly aside, it isn't overdone. With fun musical numbers and gorgeous animation, the movie is enjoyable for all ages. Yes, it can. -Clover Hope

Princess and the Frog hits select theaters Nov. 25 and opens everywhere on Dec. 11.

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Cardi B Lands Leading Role In Comedy ‘Assisted Living’

Cardi B is making her way back to the big screen. The Bronx native officially landed her first leading role in the upcoming Paramount comedy, Assisted Living.

According to Variety, Cardi will play a small time crook struggling to find a hiding place after her latest heist fails. Her character, “Amber,” disguises herself as an elderly woman and hides out at her grandmother's nursing home. The film is described as a “raucous comedy” similar to Mrs. Doubtfire and Sister Act.

Paramount acquired the rights to Assisted Living in 2019. The film’s script was penned by This Is Us writer, Kay Oyegun.

Cardi, 28, made her film debut in the 2019 celeb-heavy stripper flick, Hustlers. The “WAP” rapper appears to have hinted at her Assisted Living role in a recent interview with Billboard where she dished on filming scenes for Fast & Furious 9.

“After ‘Hustlers’ I filmed a little bit for 'Fast & Furious' so I felt like ‘I’m ready for this,’ I knew what to expect,” she explained. “But the characters were a little different so I was like ‘Oh wow, I’m going to need more acting classes.’ I’m planning on doing a movie this year and I’m going to be the lead role so I’m like ‘I need to execute this flawlessly.’”

Besides film, Cardi was a judge on the Netflix completion show, Rhythm & Flow, and landed her own Facebook Watch series, Cardi Tries.

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Netflix Gives Sneak Peek Of Jay-Z Produced Western ‘The Harder They Fall’

Netflix gave a preview of the streaming giant's upcoming films on Tuesday (Jan. 12). Among them, the highly anticipated western, The Harder They Fall.

Produced by Jay Z and written and directed by musician Jeymes Samuel, the film stars Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, Lakeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz and Woody McClain.

The Harder They Fall follows the fictional character, Nat Love (Majors), as he seeks revenge on the man who murdered his parents. Besides signing on as a producer, Hov also created original music for the film.

The Covid-19 pandemic delayed filming, which began in March of last year in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Filming resumed in September but was paused again after one of the actors tested positive for coronavirus.

“What I love about movies is that they can make you feel every emotion,” King says in the Netflix teaser.

“And show you something you’ve never seen before,” adds Majors while clips from their film plays on the screen.

The Harder They Fall is one of 27 films headed to Netflix. See more in the video below.

2021 = a new movie EVERY WEEK on Netflix. Here's a sneak peek at 27 of the biggest, brightest, fastest, funniest, feel-good, feel-everything films and stars coming to Netflix this year

— NetflixFilm (@NetflixFilm) January 12, 2021

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Issa Rae Announces ‘Insecure’ Will End After Season 5

Insecure will return this year for a fifth and final season, Issa Rae revealed on Wednesday (Jan. 13). In a statement to Deadline, Rae and executive producer Prentice Penny showed gratitude to HBO and fans of the show.

“Prentice and I are so grateful that HBO believed in our show from the beginning and kept the faith in us to see our vision through the end,” said Rae.“We always planned to tell this story through five seasons, but we couldn’t have made it this far without the tremendous support of our audience. I feel blessed beyond measure to bring our characters’ stories to an end, on-screen at least.”

HBO’s Programming EVP Amy Gravitt, noted that Rae has “turned insecurity into an iconic form of comedy.”

Based off the 36-year-old’s popular Awkward Black Girl YouTube series, lnsecure was created by Rae and Larry Wilmore. The series premiered on HBO in 2016.

Season five will reportedly begin filming later this month with Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis, Natasha Rothwell and Amanda Seales all expected to return. The previous season ended with Rae’s character at yet another crossroads with her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Lawrence (played by Ellis).

Season five of Insecure debuts later this year.

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