When the music to Elena of Avalor began we knew this would be different. Never before had a show like this been introduced to us with a sound so familiar it felt like home. My nieces who had grown impatient at the wait for the premiere episode of Disney’s new animated show featuring the first Latina princess were immediately drawn in and captivated by the intro music to the show.
It features familiar sounds from instruments they’ve grown up listening to all their lives, a rhythm that unmistakably would be categorized as Latin music.
I was pretty excited for the premiere myself. I mean growing up I’d realized a long time ago that the princesses that most captured my interest were the ones that had darker hair and darker skin. Even they, however, didn’t seem to fully represent me and those around me. Sure they were inspiring and entertaining, but they weren’t as comfortable and familiar with my culture as I was. I wanted them to be.
When I first heard about Elena of Avalor her existence immediately meant a lot to me. It meant that even though I hadn’t had the opportunity to grow up watching a Latina princess on the Disney Channel, my nieces and millions of other little girls like them would. It meant that for the first time on this important platform our culture, values and identity would be acknowledged and represented. It meant they wouldn’t have to grow up wishing that at least one of their favorite characters on TV could share a sense of pride and and comfort in their same cultural heritage.
That’s a powerful message to send young Latina girls and boys everywhere. As powerful as the core values represented by Princess Elena in Elena of Avalor: family, friends, leadership, honesty and compassion.
Those are the same values we uphold as a family. And we are a pretty large familia to be quite honest. There are nieces, grandchildren, children, grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and that’s not even mentioning all the distant relatives outside of our immediate family. We hold each other tight and we believe in helping each other, which at any given moment can mean any number of things.
Right now, for example, my niece Yasmin is going to college and figuring out what exactly she wants to major in, one of my sisters is busy planning a quinceañera for one of her three daughters, and another one of my sisters is getting ready to enroll her youngest daughter in elementary school for the first time. It’s a lot, but somehow we always manage to figure out how to be there for each other.
Despite how busy everyone is this summer, for the premiere of Elena of Avalor my entire family made it possible for most of my nieces to be there to watch the premiere with me. We wanted them to understand the significance of this new series! They were entertained and I want to say just as excited as the adults in the room. Even Edgar stuck around for the premiere.
That also got me thinking about the qualities that truly make up a great leader. I’m hopeful that through Princess Elena we can start reiterating these qualities to the next generation of of young girls as early as possible.
5 Qualities of a Great Leader:
1.Caring: It is important to care for others and show empathy, kindness and concern. We all have bad moments and it is during those moments that a true leader rises to show kindness.
2.Supportive: Encourage others to follow their dreams and desires. Be willing to give support when asked and also to seek support when it is needed. We all need reassurance when we have doubts and fears and it is our job as a family to support our loved ones when they need us.
3.Honest/Accountable: Otherwise known as ethics, integrity, honor, and moral character. A leader is always willing to take responsibility for her/his actions.
4.Respectful/Mindful: Not everyone has to agree with us. Not everyone has to think like us. That doesn’t mean that we should value others any less because of our differences.
5.Confident/Trustworthy: A leader is not afraid to speak up and stand up for what is right. That confidence of self is what makes those around them want to trust them and believe in them.
As the end credits came to an end, we knew something pretty important had just begun. It’s the beginning of a new generation who will make Princess Elena all their own. We can’t wait to see what great things are inspired by the world of Avalor!
Watch this new series with us on Fridays at 7:30pm ET/PT or 6:30pm CT on Disney Channel.