Today's SoundTRAX feature "The Princess and the Frog" was a groundbreaking animated film with uplifting tunes.
"The Princess and the Frog" is perfect for Black History Month and Fat Tuesday as it's set in New Orleans and features the first Black Disney princess.
As we continue to celebrate Black History Month at WFPK, I think today's choice works particularly well with today being Fat Tuesday.
The Disney animated feature The Princess and the Frog not only showcased a Black Disney princess, it's also conveniently set in New Orleans.
I can't begin to imagine what it was like for young girls of color to finally see themselves in one of those iconic princesses. How could you not be moved by that?
The story takes place in "The Big Easy" in the 1920's and focuses on Tiana (voiced by Tony Award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose), a waitress who dreams of opening her own restaurant. When an evil voodoo witch doctor changes a prince into a frog, the prince asks Tiana to kiss him and change him back. Unfortunately, not only does it not work, it also changes Tiana into a frog. Awkward.
It's a great cast of voices, including Bruno Campos, Oprah Winfrey, Terence Howard, John Goodman, and the always fabulous Jenifer Lewis. Oh, and TV chef Emeril Lagasse plays a mean alligator, which is a sentence I never expected to share.
One of the kings of movie music is on board to handle the tunes: the one and only Randy Newman. Not only does his resume speak for itself, Newman was also a jazz composer who grew up in New Orleans, making him even more ideal than usual.
The soundtrack contains the ten original songs from the film and seven instrumental pieces featuring Newman, Ne-Yo, and Dr. John, as well as cast members like Jenifer Lewis, who is joined by The Pinnacle Gospel Choir on the rollicking "Dig a Little Deeper."
But the princess is the star and deserves top billing as our SoundTRAX choice as well.
From The Princess and the Frog it's Anika Noni Rose with the Randy Newman-penned "Down in New Orleans."
SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10 a.m.