If you've been following the chatter about Disney's upcoming The Princess and the Frog, you know there's a lot more to it than just excitement that the studio is returning to hand-drawn princess stories. Being that it's the first film starring a black princess, Princess and the Frog has been subject to all kinds of scrutiny, from the profession of its heroine-- a waitress-- to the toothless Cajun firefly character who seems to embody a whole host of racist stereotypes.

Now we've got a look at another character who's coming under question: Mama Odie, the fairy godmother figure who has magical powers and carries with her a seeing-eye snake. A Disney Channel featurette, embedded below, introduced her through an interview with the movie's directors, Ron Clements and John Musker. The featurette actually includes a lot of new footage, and is worth seeing alone just for the glimpse of what they're doing with this still-unfinished movie.

But really, there's the most pressing question: Is Mama Odie just an Aunt Jemima reboot? Movieline thinks so. But I'm having a hard time seeing anything particularly stereotypical about the character. Sure she's a plump black woman, not unlike Aunt Jemima or various other Mammy figures from history, but she seems to be pretty much in charge of her own thing, and not cooking for any white people. I don't know; it's a fine line, and maybe with more information the character could emerge as a problem. But I'm tempted to give a pass here. What do you think?

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