This past weekend, the D23 Expo took place, allowing Disney fans to take an exclusive look at all the upcoming projects. One project that got a particular amount of hype (after the Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer) was an exclusive look at Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.
From what we know so far (and keep in mind things can and will change), a wifi router is plugged into the arcade to boost attendance, and something breaks in the Sugar Rush game. Vanellope and Ralph go to the internet to find something to fix it, and meet a wide array of new worlds and characters. One major character they meet is an algorithm from a Buzzfeed knockoff site called Yesss, who guides them around the strange new world. There’s also a potential plot point of Vanellope meeting the Disney Princesses on the Disney fan website, OhMyDisney, and revealing that she feels a little overshadowed by Ralph.
A lot of people are hyped, but also nervous as hell. I get a little annoyed that some people are already expecting the worst when they haven’t even seen anything yet, but one thing that makes me really agitated is the revulsion people have towards Ralph and Yesss potentially becoming a couple (people who went to the expo report that Ralph was clearly in awe of her).
Why am I upset?
Because Yesss is extremely likely going to be a black woman.
She has been described as having an afro, and is voiced by Taraji P. Henson, a black woman. Given how the first WIR film got criticisms for being overwhelmingly white, it is extremely likely Yesss is either going to be black or black-coded.
When was the last time you saw a lot of good black female characters in animation? With natural hair? Who weren’t just aggressive and sassy? And who was able to have a proper romance that didn’t either dissolve or was pushed aside for the main white couple? In Disney’s history, they’ve only really had Tiana, and that isn’t enough, especially with her being a frog for most of the movie.
You can see how her being in a romance with Ralph is going to be important. Seeing a black woman be loved in a interracial relationship in a major Disney movie is going to have a HUGE impact.
But apparently for some people that’s not good enough. “Ralph doesn’t need a love interest” or “he should be with a man” or “Ralph being with a woman of colour is acceptable but not good”.
Can you see how that might be an issue I have?
Now, we don’t know for sure that this couple will be endgame. Ralph could fall in love with her and she could reject him and they’d still be friends, or she might be the main villain. We don’t know. But if she IS going to get together with Ralph, it’s kind of shitty to get angry over it.
The most important thing is that Ralph and Vanellope’s friendship will get stronger as a result no matter what happens. Until then, let’s wait until we get more information to pass judgement.
The opening title for Big Hero 6: The Series dropped and it looks AWESOME. But people still want a sequel, so, hop to that, Disney. Watch it here: