Disney princesses remain as popular as ever, but most were created during a time when people of color were not represented on film. While “The House That Mickey Built” is a lot more diverse these days, we couldn’t help but wonder what some of the classic Disney princesses would look like if they were black, and also members of the 1984-1985 Philadelphia 76ers.
Cinderella is the classic story of a young woman forced to live with her abusive and wicked stepmother. Despite her hardships, she keeps a positive demeanor, and is rewarded with her very own Prince Charming. But if Cinderella were black, and also responsible for the modern high-flying style of basketball we all love, she would look like Julius “Dr. J” Erving, who escaped similar hardships in the ABA to find a happy ending as a member of the successful mid-’80s 76ers. Inspiring!
ARIEL: CHARLES BARKLEY
Ariel from The Little Mermaid is just like any other rebellious teen: curious, disobedient, and totally in love with older boys! But if she wasn’t Caucasian, and also happened to be a future TNT analyst famous for speaking freely, she would be Charles Barkley. As the most talented rookie member of the 1984-85 76ers, Ariel would set the sports world on fire, not just with her bullying front-court play, but also with her controversial statements about race, politics, and whether she should be a role model for mermaids who want to have sex with humans.
BELLE: MOSES MALONE
Beauty and the Beast’s Belle is beloved by little girls all over the globe for her independent, nonconformist personality. But if she were a 30-year-old black man living in 1980s Philadelphia, she would still be the belle of the ball… the basketball! Just picture how ah-mazing Belle would look as the late, great center who famously predicted the Sixers would win the 1983 NBA Finals. Fo-Fo-Fo? More like Slay-Slay-Slay!
SLEEPING BEAUTY: LEON WOOD
Sleeping Beauty’s name isn’t actually Sleeping Beauty. It’s Aurora. Weird, right?!? Who would know that obscure piece of trivia? The same people who know that NBA journeyman Leon Wood hung up his jerseys, including one belonging to a particular 1984-85 basketball team, to become an NBA official. You’re not the only one who can’t even! But if Aurora were African-American and had the ability to slam dunk, she would surely transition to a career in which sleeping on the job is mandatory whenever a star player has the ball.
SNOW WHITE: MAURICE CHEEKS
Snow White had her hands full as the den mother of seven wacky dwarves. However, if she were black, and the starting point guard for the last 76ers team to make the Eastern Conference Finals before the Allen Iverson era, she would kill it as Maurice Cheeks. Cheeks could totally relate to Snow White’s stressful lifestyle when he returned to Philadelphia as the Sixers head coach in 2005. He would even maintain her gorgeous singing voice!
And yet, it took Hollywood forever to catch up with society and create the first non-white Disney princess, the chubby Hawaiian girl in Lilo & Stitch. For shame!
Pablo Goldstein is a writer whose favorite Disney princess is Jasmine/Craig Ehlo. You should follow him on Twitter.