Audrey Lee Young’s got a serious affection for Disney.
Her love for the “Happiest Place on Earth” goes beyond visiting the parks and taking selfies with Minnie and Mickey. Lee Young has long wanted to make her mark dressing up in clothes inspired by the color palettes of the iconic Disney characters and timeless animated films. In a concept known as “Disneybounding” women wear outfits dressed as Disney characters.
Young birthed the idea of doing a twist on Disney Bounding several years ago and finally was able to gather a group of 14 Black women together to dress as classic Disney characters in African print garb. Yes, they transformed into AfricanPRINTcesses, Pop Sugar, reports.
“I said, ‘Well if there aren’t any more black Disney girls, let’s make the Disney girls black.'”
Lee Young has long held Disney close to her heart. She grew up watching Disney cartoons and movies and as she grew older, she found her tribe of Disney fans like herself in a Disneybounding online community.
In 2017, she thought of the concept after she joined the Disneybounding group and even had someone sketch an African print mermaid skirt so she could eventually dress the part as Ariel of “The Little Mermaid.”
The Disney superfan said back when she conjured up the idea, “It was all black girls and @followtheyellowbrickgirl (another member) had always wanted to do the Muses from Hercules. That was when #blackgirldisneymagic began. A year later we got together again and all bounded as different versions of Tiana (since she has so many outfits). Later that same week I came up with our next idea. Since we were out of black Disney girls I said ‘why don’t we make the Disney girls black?’ I wanted to #disneybound as Disney princesses but in African Print.”
But curating the photo shoot of 14 women, wearing 14 different and unique Disney-inspired outfits — from Anna to Aurora — wasn’t easy.
“It was important to see this through because when I came up with the idea, it was literally because our group had run out of black women Disney characters to portray,” she explained.
Lee Young said she worked mostly through Instagram with the women to brainstorm and come up with ideas of how they wanted the outfits to look. The women decided that Black History Month would be the perfect time to showcase their Disney fashions with African prints and fabrics.
“It would make a bigger impact and really showcase the point of the idea,” she said about debuting during Black History Month.
The group converged on Disneyland Feb. 8 and really caught people’s attention. Folks stopped and oogled and took pictures of the African print princesses. Even Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Chip and Dale stopped in their tracks to talk with the princesses, the outlet reports.
“At one point we finally had to leave Main Street because there were a lot of people staring and pointing as photos were being taken,” Young said. “All day guests were commenting on how beautiful and majestic we looked.”
That’s also where they took photos, thanks to photographer Madeline Barr. And they’ve since made their mark on social media with dozens of shares and likes.
The characters represented include: Ariel, Snow White, Elsa, Anna, Aurora, Rapunzel, Merida, Belle, Vanellope, Tiana, Moana, Cinderella, Pocahontas,= and Jasmine.
Since the photo of the 14 Disney princesses took flight on social media, Young said, “the response has been overwhelming. I’m still in shock that it has gotten so much praise,” she told Atlanta Black Star.
Young said she wants Black girls to be inspired by the courage of her creativity.
“For all the little girls out there who still don’t see the representation they deserve or who are still told that their black/brown skin and kinky hair are undesirable, you are beautiful princesses. The standard of beauty is YOU! You can be a mermaid, you can be a boss lady, you can be a warrior, you can be an adventurer,” Young said. “Dream big and dream bold.”