Blog Entries

Brown Girl Royalty (Part I)

Saturday, June 19, 2010
Here we go with my imagination again, but please bear with me.  
Yes, I wanted to be a princess when I was growing up.  And yes, Cinderella was my girl.  Even my beloved mother-in-law, whose grandmother was a marquess in Belgium before the war, used to call me The Contessa (not so sure I should be admitting this...LOL).  And so you can imagine how over the moon I was when Walt Disney Productions created an ethnically diverse multicultural rainbow cast for its 1997 television version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella with a Brown Girl named Brandy at the helm.  (And yes, I watch the movie and sing the  And as I watch, my vivid imagination actually plays itself out in front of me on the screen as people of all cultural backgrounds dance and sing and laugh and cry.  And what makes it just as much fun to watch is that many of the rainbow coalition of dancing and singing people guessed it...royalty.  OMG, "the Prince is giving a ball!"
Imagination aside, there are some real deal Brown Girl princesses out there in the world and after a bit of fumbling through my bookcase (I found Elizabeth of Toro: The Odyssey of an African Princess on a back shelf!), and some online research (and discovery!), I found out about the story of Sara Forbes Bonetta (pictured right), a West African Egbado tribal princess (obviously re-named) who was orphaned in inter-tribal warfare at the age of eight and rescued from a human sacrifice by a captain of the British Royal Navy who convinced an African King to let him give her to Queen Victoria of England.  Wow.  Raised in both England and Sierra Leone, Sara was ultimately raised under the care of Queen Victoria as Victoria's god-daughter.  I am so intrigued that I am ordering the book that tells this amazing story - At Her Majesty's Request: An African Princess in Victorian England - right now, maintenant, pronto, quick-fast-and-in-a-hurry-okay-it's-done.  I can't wait to read it!  I also found more cool info about Hawaiian queens and princesses, a Mayan princess, a Portugese princess in Brazil, a Zulu princess in South Africa and more!  Always fascinated by the whole royalty thing, I think I might even have to do a Brown Girl Princess Series one of these days real soon.  Ever imagine yourself a princess?  (Whispering:  You can tell me.)


Anonymous on: October 2, 2012 at 11:01 PM said...

I just read this article and I had it brought a smile to my face. Many years ago, I read the story of Elizabeth of Toro and was wondering what became of her when I saw your article. Every little girl dreams of being a princess at some time or another. Race doesn't enter into it but it is nice to see her face and have her look like you.My children are multi racial and they call me their princess. When they see a princess of color, I see the connection in their expressions and I amglad that my kids won't have to settle for a blue-eyed, blonde as their only gauge of beauty.Princess Mommy


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