Ne-Yo: Never Knew I Needed

My accidental happily ever after…

Ne-Yo. Women sigh collectively at the sound of his name. The singer songwriter will only warm more hearts with his new song “Never Knew I Needed,” featured in the upcoming Disney film The Princess and The Frog. From the first few piano keys, it’s hard not to fall in love with the track. Ne-Yo’s songs have an element of love and romance that’s reminscent of Babyface, and that r&b playlist on your iPod with Boyz II Men songs. With the magic on “Never Knew I Needed, ” Ne-Yo might be adding Oscar winner to his list of accolades. And it would be much deserving, as it’s a song fit for a princess.

When I was younger, even though I adored Sleeping Beauty and Ariel from The Little Mermaid, I always liked to think that I knew a real life princess. My grandaunt was always like a Disney princess in my mind. She’s beautiful with a warm smile for every person she meets. I used to sit in wonder when my granduncle would share stories of their days growing up in Harlem. The people in her neighborhood called her Snow White, because her hair was styled the same, but she had a beautiful shade of glowing dark skin. When I first heard this story at six years old, I thought I was let in on a huge secret, that my grandaunt was really indeed a princess.

In addition to my grandaunt, I had tons of dolls of all shades and nationalities. I had a Black beauty queen Barbie, a blonde Cabbage Patch doll, a traditional Spanish Barbie, and even an Eskimo doll I carried everywhere. My parents thought it was important for me to have beautiful dolls of all hues. And as a result I felt that I could be a princess if I wanted to. And in this Obama era, little girls have so many figures of all shades to look up to and aspire to be. For them, Princess Tiana (voice by Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose) is not only Disney’s first African American princess, but just another beautiful princess to adore, and to add to the Disney lineage.

The real pride will be for my grandaunt and her generation, who didn’t have dolls and princesses they could admire and also see themselves in when they were children. Years later, they will have their beautiful image reflected in the face of Disney’s newly crowned princess.

The Princess and The Frog hits theaters on December 12.

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