New Representation in “Raya and the Last Dragon” (2021)

In the spring of 2021, there will be a new Southeast Asian Disney Princess from a new movie called “Raya and the Last Dragon.” The movie will take place in a fantasy land that is heavily influenced and inspired by many countries, including Singapore and Thailand. Raya is not a typical princess, but she still falls into the category because she is seen as a leader or peacemaker to her people. This film has the potential to be a very influential movie for many Southeast Asian girls because it shows a main character that looks like them that they can look up to. Since it includes the representation of the first Southeast Asian Princess, there is a lot of pressure for the movie to be successful.

It has been revealed that Kelly Marie Tran will be the voice actor for Raya in the movie. Tran is a Vietnamese-American actor and is a good fit for this role, representation wise. Disney is getting a lot of praise for this movie because Raya will be the sixth POC (person of color) princess to join a group of characters that are traditionally underrepresented in mainstream movies.

In the past, Disney has done a decent job in making their POC characters accurate, but there is still room for improvement. For example, in “The Princess and the Frog,” some critics were upset that the first black princess to be introduced was a frog for a majority of the movie. While most people didn’t see it as a problem, the potential viewers for “Raya and the Last Dragon” don’t want it to be the same scenario. Overall, this could be a great step forward for the representation of all POC, but we will have to wait until the movie comes out in March of 2021 to find out.

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