Black actors are making historic moves in the realm of entertainment. According to CBS News, This Is Us star Niles Fitch was cast to become Disney’s first African American live-action prince.
The Atlanta native will play Prince Tuma in the production of Secret Society of Second-Born Royals. The sci-fi fantasy film chronicles the journey of a teen named Sam who struggles with finding a sense of belonging in her royal family. Along her journey of self-discovery, she finds out she has superpowers and is a part of a covert group of teenagers who were born with supernatural abilities and are tasked with protecting the world. “It takes her on this journey of figuring out how to make it work for herself that’s going to break that delicate princess mold,” actress Peyton Elizabeth Lee, who plays the role of Sam, told Entertainment Weekly. “When she finds this secret society that feels the same way, they figure out how to create their own legacy and have an impact on their country and the world.”
Fitch is beyond excited to be a part of the project. The 18-year-old took to Twitter to share the news. “Welcome Disney’s first Black prince @disneyplus,” he tweeted. Fitch will star alongside Lee, Isabella Blake-Thomas and Olivia Deeble. The film is slated to stream on Disney+ this summer.
Fitch’s role is a step forward for Disney regarding the racial representation in live-action casting. In 2019, the company faced backlash for casting Black songstress Halle Bailey as Ariel in the live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. The Disney network firmly defended its decision. “After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence and substance—plus a glorious singing voice—all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role,” the production’s director Rob Marshall said in a statement.
In 2009, Princess Tiana—the lead character in the animated film The Princess and the Frog—became the first Black Disney princess.