Over the past few years there's been a ton of conversation about the importance of representation and inclusion in the media. Some serious progress has been made, including within major franchises like the MCU. The upcoming live-action Little Mermaid is breaking new ground, with actress/singer Halle Bailey playing Ariel and making history in the process. And parents are filming their Black daughters watching Halle Bailey sing as Ariel for the first time in now-viral TikToks.
Disney's annual D23 event occurred last weekend, where the first trailers from a variety of upcoming projects debuting in the process. This includes some footage from Rob Marshall's The Little Mermaid, with Halle Bailey even singing a few bars of "Part of Your World" in the process. A number of parents have gone viral on social media outlets like Twitter, thanks to adorable footage of young Black girls reacting to seeing themselves in Bailey's Ariel. You can check out one such sweet TikTok below,
@callmedarii (opens in new tab) ♬ original sound - Dari (opens in new tab)
I'm not crying, you're crying. So many generations of young Black kids didn't get to grow up feeling represented on screen. This include classic Disney movies like The Little Mermaid. And seeing these two young girls' looks of disbelief and joy upon seeing Halle Bailey's first footage as Ariel shows how important onscreen inclusion is. Plus Bailey sounds absolutely killer in that small but gorgeous clip of The House of Mouse's latest live-action remake.
While plenty of these sweet Little Mermaid reactions show young Black girls overjoyed at hearing and seeing Halle Bailey as Ariel, some are more emotional. Case in point, the below TikTok where a little girl's eyes well up after watching the movie's first trailer. Bring your tissues for this one.
@devyncoulson (opens in new tab) ♬ original sound - devyncoulson (opens in new tab)
While some of the Little Mermaid reaction TikToks only focus young Black girls' reaction to seeing Halle Bailey's Ariel, other parents also included the dialogue shared with their kids. One such video can be seen below, which has a young woman remarking that Bailey is beautiful, before also saying that she looks like her. Check it out,
@shavonne_3 (opens in new tab) ♬ L$d - Luclover (opens in new tab)
There's seemingly countless version of this reaction on TikTok, while also going viral on other social media outlets like Twitter and Instagram. And while all the kids and reactions are different, it's universally powerful to watch young people seeing Halle Bailey's version of Ariel for the new Little Mermaid, especially those who already loved the animated original.
@ashley_potts (opens in new tab) ♬ original sound - Ashley Potts (opens in new tab)
For her part, Halle Bailey isn't blind to the various Little Mermaid reaction videos that are currently circulating around the internet. In fact, the actress/recording artist addressed them over in Twitter, revealing it's been emotional to watch young girls respond so strongly to her version of Ariel. She posted,
Clearly there are a ton of emotions connected to Rob Marshall's new take on The Little Mermaid. And that excitement should increase the close we get to the live-action movie musical. Although there are still a few more months of waiting for moviegoing audiences.
The Little Mermaid will hit theaters on May 26th, 2023. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.
Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.
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