Disney fans have recognized The Little Mermaid’s Ariel since its original 1989 film as a white woman with a big green tail and long red hair. This upcoming remake of the Disney movie will star Halle Bailey, a Black actress and singer, as Ariel, opening the door for more kids to see themselves as princesses. After seeing videos of young Black girls watching the trailer for the first time, Bailey shared her heartwarming response.
The first released trailer of The Little Mermaid remake shows Halle Bailey singing a sweet song that will bring you back to the golden days of Disney. Parents filmed their young Black daughters watching this spectacular trailer in wonder and joy because a beloved Disney character was coming to theaters who looked like them. Bailey, who I think is about to charm audiences as Ariel, posted a video on Instagram of the reactions to the newest trailer with a caption saying she's “truly in awe” and “emotional” for touching the hearts of “these little babies.” She thanked everyone in the video for their support.
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You can understand why these emotional reactions mean so much to the Grown-ish actress. As soon as Halle Bailey was cast as Ariel, she experienced a lot of backlash because people are used to Ariel being portrayed by a white woman. Newsweek reported that the teaser trailer gained 1.5 million dislikes in the first two days, making it Disney’s most disliked trailer as of September 2022. Like Freeform addressed the backlash, the negative responses toward the racial change are uncalled for as the original author of The Little Mermaid was Danish which meant Ariel could have been of any race. Even Asian-American actress Diana Huey faced criticism for being Ariel in the stage version. Luckily, Huey had an encouraging message for Bailey, saying the kids watching her didn’t care about what culture she was and kids today are sure not going to feel that way about Bailey.
Having the opportunity to be the title role of a major motion picture means the world to any up-and-coming actress. That’s why it’s a good thing that the 22-year-old handles the negativity surrounding portraying Ariel with ease. She knows this role is bigger than her and is too excited to focus on any pessimism haters have. The Grammy-nominated actress-singer said she is lucky to have the loving support of her family who reminds her how important playing Ariel is for the Black community. A generation of little girls will now be able to see themselves in their favorite mermaid. Based on a recent video compilation of these young girls’ reactions, I would say mission accomplished.
People around the world cannot stop watching The Little Mermaid trailer. According to Variety, the teaser earned 104 million views globally during its first weekend online. That’s quite a bit higher than all of Disney’s recent live-action trailers like Cruella (68 million views), Beauty and the Beast (94 million views), Aladdin (74 million views), and Maleficent 2 (62 million views). TikTok users have also been posting their reactions to watching the trailer and hearing the actress's beautiful voice as she sings "Part of Your World."
Little girls have been and probably will continue to be inspired by the remarkable performance of Halle Bailey as she wows audiences playing Ariel in The Little Mermaid remake. According to the 2023 movie schedule, you have the chance to see this red-haired mermaid swim her way into theaters on May 26, 2023.
Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.
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