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Families share heartwarming videos of Black children seeing the new “Little Mermaid” teaser

Families share heartwarming videos of Black children seeing the new “Little Mermaid” teaser
Halle Bailey in "The Little Mermaid"Photo: Screenshot

Parents are countering the absurd racist backlash to Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid with heartwarming videos of their Black and brown children seeing the film’s new teaser for the first time.

The first look at the new film featuring a glimpse of Halle Bailey as Ariel dropped on September 10, reigniting racist online commentary about casting a Black actor in the role. But at the same time, Black families have been posting clips on social media of their kids’ ecstatic reactions to seeing Bailey as the beloved character.

“So instead of focusing so much on the negative, I thought I’d show a thread of the little black kids who are excited to see their favorite princess look like them,” wrote Twitter user @normanination4, who compiled a thread of the videos from TikTok.

The clips are an undeniable hit of pure joy and prove the power of representation.

In a recent interview with Variety, Bailey described how her grandparents helped her cope with the racist backlash to her casting.

“It was an inspiring and beautiful thing to hear their words of encouragement, telling me, ‘You don’t understand what this is doing for us, for our community, for all the little Black and brown girls who are going to see themselves in you,’” she said.

“I want the little girl in me and the little girls just like me who are watching to know that they’re special, and that they should be a princess in every single way,” Bailey continued. “There’s no reason that they shouldn’t be.”

LGBTQ people have long felt a connection to The Little Mermaid as well. Out lyricist Howard Ashman co-wrote the iconic songs for Disney’s original 1989 animated version, and the film’s villain, the sea witch Ursula, is said to have been inspired by drag performer Divine.

And the story’s queer subtext goes all the way back to the original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. The Danish author wrote the 1837 story of an outsider pining for a handsome prince in response to his own unrequited love for a straight friend.

Disney’s new version of The Little Mermaid is scheduled for a May 2023 theatrical release.

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