Disney world has over the years produced fairy tales with various characters and morals. While these stories were primarily used for the purpose of teaching children how to read and giving them a firm foundation in the English language, it had a downside. From Cinderella whose step family maltreated her till she caught the eye of Prince Charming who married her and consequently liberated her from her slavery, to sleeping beauty who fell into a deep sleep for thousands of years till her knight in shinning amour found her, kissed her and woke her up from her deep sleep. It goes down to Rapunzel who was imprisoned in the apex of a tower till she was rescued by her Prince.
The list is endless. One of the morals children pick from such fairytales are how good always overcomes evil, and the power of love and kindness. However, there has been an unassuming and low key psychological effect from these stories. Girls grow up, reading Cinderella, thinking that what ever situation they find themselves in, their only escape route is their Prince at a ball. For those sleeping beauty lovers, they grow up anticipating one thing, relationship and marriage. Until then, they do very little with themselves. Little to no accomplishment, until their knight in shinning amour whisks them away from their sleep into marriage.
For black girls the situation was worse. A standard of beauty was set, as every princess was white and had blonde bone straight hair and the evil witches were a little bit dark skinned with black curly unkempt hair. Subtle as it may seem, these petty details in fairy tales had some psychological effect on our minds as girls, especially as black girls. Majority of us grew up with the perception that wearing our kinky afro hair was unacceptable. We applied all sorts of chemicals to our hair to get it bone straight, a replica of what we had seen in Disney movies and fairytales. Isn’t it amazing how these chemicals can’t be applied without any protection or covering on your hands but is applied on the rather sensitive scalp which has all your brain nerves connected?
MOANA-the newest princess in Disney world is not the traditional blonde bone straight hair white princess we are accustomed to. MOANA is an adventurous teenager and a princess of course, oh well she’d rather be known as the daughter of the Chief and the next chief. She’s got her melanin skin popping like the purest form of honey glazed with milk. Her hair, her crown, the prettiest black loose curls I have ever seen. MOANA is a name that means the ocean.
She sets sail(note that she didn’t know how to sail a boat) on a daring mission to save her people and restore them back to who they were before a demi-god (a man) stole the heart of the goddess of the island and plagued the island with darkness.
MOANA leaves her village with the instruction to find Maiu,the demi-god responsible for the atrocity. They’re to both sail back to “Tefiti” with the heart of the goddess and Maiu was to put back the heart he stole.
Well, I’ll save the rest of the fairytale for your eyes. Find this movie and watch it. It’s worth the hype. Anyway so MOANA finds Maiu and their journey begins. They had to find Maui’s “magical hook” before they could journey to Tefiti to put it back. On and on they find the “magical hook” of Maui in the den of this fascinating crab who thinks he’s scary but likes to sing and dance. He has a nice voice though.
So Maui fails in first attempt to place the heart back all by himself. He retreats in shame and leaves MOANA at Sea, with no idea of what to do. Moana finally decides to take matters in her own hands because she needs to save her village. She attempts to go pass the raging god of fire. She succeeds to an extent but her chances of getting the heart to where it had to be were as thin as a fray of a thread.
But guess what, Maui returns to scene to help Moana. Together, they achieve the goal of getting the heart of Tefiti back to her. Now I would have been really disappointed if that twist at the end didn’t happen and Moana had to do it all by herself.
This is my favourite and most didactic Disney story ever! This is a fairytale that was very realistic rather than being idealistic. This fairytale, in a beautiful and sensational way, brought to light, how we are independently dependent on one another.
Moana didn’t sail back home when Maui left. She worked to achieve the goal, with a strength so beautiful and incredibly admirable. Maui came back after he left. With a help and support only him could offer.
This indeed is how God made us, to complement and complete one another. Woe unto he who is alone. For when he falls, he has not another to pick him up.
My dear Phenomenal Woman, be a MOANA. Build your empire while you wait for your help-meet. Be independently dependent. Stretch yourself over and beyond your capabilities. Moana didn’t know how to sail. She learned how to sail by actually sailing. You want to learn how to something new, do it anyhow you can. But, ask for help and accept help. Moana asked Maui for tutoring on how to sail, because she acknowledged he was a better sailor than she.
Don’t be a Cinderella, who’s waiting for a party or a ball to be spotted by that fine gentleman because of your fake Brazilian hair and ridiculous prom dress.