The Impact of the Princess Rap Battle

Several years ago, YouTuber Whitney Avalon gave us a mashup not many people were expecting–Disney princesses competing against each other in rap battles. Some princesses, like Cinderella and Belle, competed alone, while others, like Rapunzel and Anna, competed as couples with their respective princes. Over time, Avalon expanded to Disney and non-Disney villains (Queen of Hearts vs. Wicked Witch of the West), and non-Disney heroines (Dorothy vs. Alice).

The result was a series of memorable, humorous, and surprising videos that showed princesses and heroines in new lights and arguably made the rap battle and surrounding culture accessible to broader audiences. Until Whitney Avalon, it’s fairly unlikely that most of us, this writer included, ever pictured majority-white, extremely feminine princesses and heroines spitting clever, deep-cutting hip-hop lyrics.

Discuss the impact and influence of the Princess Rap Battles, especially when compared to other battles of their type (ex.: Epic Rap Battles of History). Do you think these battles make rap and hip-hop more accessible to women, Disney fans, and other such audience, or does the term Princess Rap Battle pigeonhole them? It’s been awhile since the last Princess Rap Battle; what might Whitney Avalon do to improve on the content and bring new audiences in? What do these battles say about the structure and poetry of rap, hip-hop, and battles in general?

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