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.
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Una Mas to complete the row. 🧜🏾♀️ To say that the last two days have been overwhelming is an understatement. The #africanPRINTcess project was always going to be amazing but to imagine it getting this much love and praise is something I never dreamt of. 🥰 Thank you to everyone who shared, commented, followed and loved our project. You all have made me cry and feel so overjoyed. 😭 Lastly, I want to give a huge shoutout to my big sis @savesoulclothing who made my mermaid skirt and who drew up the original concept art for this idea way back in 2017. 📸: @madelinebarrphoto
“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.’”
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Warning: Long caption ahead. . . Four years ago I was asked to be in a #groupdisneybound. It was all black girls and @followtheyellowbrickgirl had always wanted to do the Muses from Hercules. That was when #blackgirldisneymagic began. A year later we got together again and all bounded as different versions of Tiana (since she has so many outfits). Later that same week I came up with our next idea. Since we were out of black Disney girls I said “why don’t we make the Disney girls black?” I wanted to #disneybound as Disney princesses but in African Print. Well, 2018 went by, in 2019 we ended up doing a Dora Milaje group bound and FINALLY, in 2020 during black history month, my vision became a reality. On February 8th, I was able to assemble 14 black women together to make this dream come true. I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful, strong and talented group of ladies. Everyone looked absolutely amazing. Walking around Disneyland dressed like queens was amazing. We were graced by the photography talents of @madelinebarrphoto who made us look even more beautiful, if that’s possible, and was the perfect woman for the job. Please go and click on all of these ladies feeds to see their close-up majesty. . . Ariel – @audreyleeyoung Snow White – @erikaenchanted Elsa – @followtheyellowbrickgirl Anna- @3babykoi Aurora – @geekygarbs Rapunzel- @tiffiestarchild Merida- @miniaturemissy Belle- @dressesandcapes Vanellope- @domdivadoesit Tiana- @dominiquebrown Moana- @crossfit_disney_princess Cinderella- @dapperjess Pocahontas- @chrshpls Jasmine- @missgolden_lady
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.
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I am so grateful for Disney people. Moving to California and meeting so many people who are obsessed with the things I also love has been one of the best things ever. ✨ Disney has introduced me to SO many incredible, creative, passionate and BAD👏ASS👏 women. I was over the moon when @audreyleeyoung reached out to me a few months ago about a project she had been dreaming up for years! Her plan was to pay homage to her history by assembling a bunch of babes to create looks for all the Disney Princesses in traditional African prints. I obviously was humbled and HONORED to be asked to be a part of this. I MEAN LOOK AT THESE FREAKING BABES. ✨ Thank you all so much for sharing your magic with me. Thank you @audreyleeyoung for trusting me to take these and for such a totally magical day. ✨ You can check out individuals in my stories. Thank you @erikaenchanted for sharing them all! ✨ #AfricanPRINTcess crew: Ariel – @audreyleeyoung Snow White – @erikaenchanted Elsa – @followtheyellowbrickgirl Anna- @3babykoi Aurora – @geekygarbs Rapunzel- @tiffiestarchild Merida- @miniaturemissy Belle- @dressesandcapes Vanellope- @domdivadoesit Tiana- @dominiquebrown Moana- @crossfit_disney_princess Cinderella- @dapperjess Pocahontas- @chrshpls Jasmine- @missgolden_lady
“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.
14 Black Women Dressed As AfricanPRINTcesse Is The Melanin Moment You Needed This Week was originally published on hellobeautiful.com