Queen Phiona and Princess Shuri—Alternative Africana "Royalty" in Disney’s Royal Realm: An Intersectional Analysis


Author/Creator ORCID




Stevenson University School of Design


Business Communication

Citation of Original Publication

Harris, H. (2018). Queen Phiona and Princess Shuri—alternative Africana "royalty" in Disney’s royal realm: An intersectional analysis. Social Sciences, 7(10), 206. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7100206


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States


This paper explores the representations of two of Disney’s Africana royals, Phiona from the Queen of Katwe and Princess Shuri from Black Panther. Taking into consideration the pedagogical impact of media to reinforce ideologies of White supremacy and privilege, the depictions of these alternative royals in Disney’s royal realm are analyzed using intersectionality theory. The girls’ intersecting identities are juxtaposed with Collins’ matrix of domination concept. The analysis revealed that, while both Phiona and Shuri are challenged by the legacy of colonialization, capitalism, and globalization that constitute the matrix of domination, their approaches to these challenges are different as a result of the unique ways that their identities intersect. The author stresses that while it is commendable of Disney, and Hollywood, to allow for the affirming portrayals of these Africana girls on screen, the gesture is baseless unless a tipping point is reached where such films, and those depicting other non-dominant groups, become the norm rather than the exceptions. In other words, the challenge for those in the industry is not to resist the matrix of domination that stymies the creation of films that reflect the spectrum of the lived and fantastical experiences of Africana, and people of color; rather, the challenge is to dismantle it.