An adopted Black woman discovered shes a princess, is getting a Disney movie

A post shared by Princess Sarah Culberson (@iamprincesssc)

In 2018, the world celebrated the first biracial woman to enter the British royal family in modern history. For many, Meghan Markle was their very first Black princess outside of Disney’s Princess Tiana. Of course there are many Black princesses living around the world. Disney has decided to bring the incredible story of an African princess to life on the big screen. Sarah Culberson was adopted as an infant by the Culberson family in West Virginia. When she was 21 she decided to search for her birth parents. She discovered she was a princess with a deep heritage rooted in the Mende people of Sierra Leone. Her story caught the attention of Disney and now they are making a movie about it. Below are a few more details from the South China Morning Post:

Culberson – who was adopted by Jim and Judy Culberson, a white couple living in West Virginia, US – started looking for her birth mother at 21, but learned that she succumbed to cancer 10 years prior.

She was then terrified to find her birth father. She took her friend’s suggestion and hired a private investigator for US$25, as told to Business Insider. The investigator eventually returned with a promising lead and connected Culberson to her biological aunt who lived in nearby Maryland.

Then, her uncle revealed her identity as a princess of the Mende tribe in Sierra Leone. It was a revelation, and Culberson flew to the country to visit her biological dad.

In 2004, Princess Sarah arrived in Bumpe, Sierra Leone. At the time, the country was recovering from an 11-year civil war. The situation was bleak. Schools and communities were ravaged and destroyed.
The gravity of the situation led her to establish non-profit foundation Sierra Leone Rising, which advocates for education, women’s empowerment and public health safety. It also promoted Mask on Africa, a campaign that encourages people to wear masks to curb Covid-19.

Princess Sarah co-wrote and published A Princess Found in 2009, chronicling her life story and the discovery of her royal lineage. Her book caught the attention of Disney executives and will be adapted into a film. CNN reported that it’s still in the early phase of development.

The movie will be produced by Stephanie Allain, who became the first woman of colour to produce the Academy Awards ceremony last year, according to NBC News.

[From South China Morning Post]

This story caught my attention a few months ago, but at the time it was still up in the air whether Disney was going to make the movie about Sarah. I am so glad they have decided to go through with the project. There isn’t a release date set yet but I think that Sarah’s story is a beautiful and inspiring one. It’s impressive that she started her non-profit Sierra Leone Rising to help the Mende people. I also like the fact that Sarah is also an actress who has had a few cameos in well known shows. However this story pans out, I hope that Disney does her story justice. I personally will be waiting for the movie. I love that Sarah’s particular princess story is not about a “fair” maiden marrying into a royal family but about a Black woman learning her royal heritage after growing up with adoptive parents half a world away. Until the movie’s release date is announced, I will be looking into Sarah’s organization that was set up to help the Mende people.

Here is Sarah’s interview with Tamron Hall from last fall.

A post shared by Princess Sarah Culberson (@iamprincesssc)

A post shared by Princess Sarah Culberson (@iamprincesssc)

A post shared by Princess Sarah Culberson (@iamprincesssc)

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