It seems like black people are always the cool sidekick to the white hero.
My little sister and I used to love watching Walker Texas Ranger (yep, good old Chuck Norris). But we loved watching Walker's sidekick Trivett, a handsome black man, the most. However, Walker was always the center of the fights (and victories), and Trivett would usually kick a little rear in the background, or get injured only to have Walker save the day and return to Trivett to help.
As an adult I began to grasp how black people are underrepresented in books, movies, television shows, advertisements, greeting cards, toys, and much more. Though there has been progress, such as Tyler Perry's popular films and television shows starring many black actors, there's much to be desired.
My daughters need to know that black girls can be "stars," and let's not limit them to Princess Tiana. It seems white little girls have limitless options of characters who look like them (and dolls, and other toys, and on clothing items, and greeting cards with white faces, and advertisements, and and and....).
I've been researching book series and movies that feature black girls (who are strong, lead characters). I discovered Shanna, though many of the books seem to be out of print. There's also Grace. There's also a series for grade-school girls called the Sugar Plum Ballerinas. I love Fancy Nancy books (so cute and fun!), but Nancy's best friend, Bree, a black little girl, is always the sidekick and never the star.
I find plenty of books featuring AA kids, though they aren't always the main character and rarely does the book move into a series where my girls can see a little black girl progress in various situations.
I hope a successful children's book author (many, actually) will produce a series of books featuring a young, black, lead female character. And I hope we will step up and support these authors by purchasing their books.
The publishing industry is much like any other business---it comes down to supply and demand. If we, as consumers, clearly convey our desires (with feedback to companies and by "voting" with our dollars), there will be an increased supply.
If you know of more black female characters, please share!