The teaser trailer for The Little Mermaid live-action remake that was recently released by Disney provided our best look yet at lead star Halle Bailey as the new Ariel. Though the teaser was short, it also provided a sample of Bailey’s singing as Ariel by including her rendition of “Part of Your World.” The teaser, which you can watch below, ends with a close-up of the new Ariel, introducing Bailey as Disney’s first live-action Black princess.
After the trailer was released, a video went viral that featured some of the reactions young Black children were having to the footage. In the video, different kids can be seen getting ecstatic when they see the reveal of Bailey singing the familiar song.
“She’s Black!” one child says in amazement.
“She’s brown like me!” another girl says.
It wasn’t long before Bailey started seeing these reactions. On Twitter, she posted how she had been getting emotional with people sending her reactions like the ones seen in the viral video ever since the trailer was released. She wrote, “People have been sending these reactions to me all weekend and I’m truly in awe. This means the world to me.”
You can see the tweet with the viral video below, along with Bailey’s reaction.
Halle Bailey Was Hoping For This Result
This is very much something Halle Bailey had been hoping for when she took on the role of Ariel in The Little Mermaid. In a previous interview with Variety, the singer and actress spoke about how excited she would have been to have seen a Black woman playing a Disney princess in a movie. She also shared her hopes that this would be the effect young Black children of today when seeing Bailey in the film.
“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 said. “There’s no reason that they shouldn’t be. That reassurance was something that I needed.”
When Bailey’s casting was announced, there had been some people on social media criticizing the move, arguing that the fictional mermaid’s skin color should not have been changed from her transition from animation into live-action. Though upsetting to see, Bailey was able to see just how important her casting was after speaking with her grandparents about the situation.
“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,'” Bailey explained. “What that would have done for me, how that would have changed my confidence, my belief in myself, everything. Things that seem so small to everyone else, it’s so big to us.”
Rob Marshall directed The Little Mermaid. The film stars Halle Bailey, Daveed Diggs, Jacob Tremblay, Awkwafina, Jonah Hauer-King, Art Malik, Noma Demezweni, Javier Bardem, and Melissa McCarthy.
The Little Mermaid will be released in movie theaters on May 26, 2023.