Modern Griots: Yaba Baker

Remember the Disney film, Princess and the Frog? Did you know Princess Tiana was based on another princess, Princess Briana. Creator of the Just Like Me series, Yaba Baker started the company in 1996 with How African American Inventions Changed America, Just Like Me – The Beginning of Civilization and Just Like Me – The Coloring Book of Careers. Baker followed up those books with the Princess Briana books. He wrote a movie script based on the character in 2003 and placed 2nd runner-up in the Hollywood Black Film Festival the same year. In 2004, he officially started selling Princess Briana books. Although Baker was receiving some success with his company, the large media empire, Disney ended up taking his Princess Briana and morphing it into Princess Tiana.

In response to Disney’s Princess and the Frog, Baker said: “For 6 years I worked day and night, traveled all over the country promoting, acquired loans from family members and banks, and sank every penny I earned back into making the Princess Briana movie. After all my hard work, a big corporation is attempting to take it all away from me. It’s just not right. In America, the small businessman is supposed to get a fair shake but this anything but a fair shake.” When asked what he would like to happen, he responded, “If anyone believes that Disney’s Princess Tiana is a copy of Princess Briana, please go to or and support my fight against Disney by buying a Princess Briana book. The book is only $9.99 (the regular price is $12.99) on the Princess Briana web site. If you buy at least 5 books, I will take off an additional 10%. If you don’t have children or do not have a little girl to purchase the book for, please purchase as many books as possible and donate the books to a good cause this holiday season (Girl Scouts, Brownies, to children in a homeless shelter, etc.).” So, take a look at his website and if you feel that an injustice was done to Baker, support him by buying some of his products. Baker is still working on producing the Princess Briana film.

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