One of the best things about the lockdown is seeing how people are embracing their creativity to keep busy and Symone Seven’s reimagining of sparkling Disney princess-inspired portraits is right up there.

US-based Symone Seven [what a cool name!] first made headlines a few weeks ago with the depiction of herself as a Black Cinderella, but it turns out that she was just getting started. She’s followed this with a photo series of modern melanin-ated princesses.

 

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So far, she’s dropped portraits of herself as Aladdin’s Jasmine, Ariel – The Little Mermaid, Maleficent, Sleeping Beauty, Princess Tiana, Rapunzel, and Pocahontas.

Her transformations into the Disney princesses pack a powerful boost for representation. Seeing ourselves in these spaces as a child would have been so affirming, but it’s good to see change is on the way for our children. Last year, it was announced that the part of Ariel in The Little Mermaid would be played by Halle Bailey.

Symone Seven
Halle Bailey is set to play Ariel in The Little Mermaid

Despite her newfound popularity, for Symone it’s not about the followers and likes. In an interview with Good Morning America, she said: “The numbers are great but nothing compares to seeing the real stories people share with me in response,” said Seven. “I’ve had children get so excited to see a princess that looks like them — with brown skin and hair kinky like theirs.”

“This photo series began with me wanting to pay homage to one of my childhood favourites which were Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘Cinderella’ musical featuring Brandy, Whitney Houston and a culturally diverse cast,” Seven said. “I would request to watch that movie daily as my mom intentionally raised me in a culturally enriched environment.”

 

 

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“As an adult, I found that my experience was uncommon, and I wanted to create those positive images for others that I was afforded. So here we are with four princesses down and eight more to go.”

 

 

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From the videos of children reacting online to a Black Cinderella, and photo submissions from young Black princesses it’s clear this isn’t just about better representation, which is important, but also the power of mentoring. Symone’s images are clearly a tool to empower our children and the younger generation to remind the world that not only do #blackgirlsmatter, but that we can create our own images.


Visit Symone’s website, where she showcases her photos, and offers products and services including Live Photoshop classes and a Photoshop Guide.

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