Disney recently released the teaser trailer for the much-awaited live-action movie, The Little Mermaid. And, of course, it soared on the internet and went viral, receiving massive acclaim from excited moviegoers. Disney also announced the principal cast members and who they will portray in the upcoming film. Jonah Haur-King will portray the charming Prince Eric, Javier Bardem as the powerful King Triton, and Melissa McCarthy as the villainous Ursula. And, of course, Halle Bailey shines as the wonderful Princess Ariel.
I’m so excited to see Halle Bailey shine in The Little Mermaid
In case you didn’t know Halle Bailey is best known for being one half of the musical duo Chloe x Halle with her sister Chlöe. Together, they have earned five Grammy Award nominations since 2018. Her role as Skyler Foster in the sitcom Grown-ish has earned her a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series at the 2020 NAACP Image Awards. With those nominations alone, we can see how well she will portray our favorite Atlantica resident in The Little Mermaid.
Jodi Benson, the original voice actress of Ariel in the 1989 animated film, praised Halle Bailey’s beautiful performance in The Little Mermaid.
In an Instagram Story, she wrote nothing but praises for the young actress.
“Halle, you were absolutely amazing! I’m SO proud of you and your beautiful performance as Ariel.”
Halle reposted the Story and expressed her gratitude.
“Thank you so much, Jodi Benson! This means the world to me coming from you! You made Ariel magical for us.”
Javier Bardem revealed to Entertainment Tonight that playing King Triton, alongside Halle’s Ariel remains a daunting task.
He recalled in the said interview:
“When you’re close to Halle, it’s impossible to sing… She was warming up her voice near me, and I was like ‘What was that?’ She goes, ‘Oh, I was just warming up…’ It would take me five years to do that!”
Acclaimed actors and actresses are not the only ones who expressed their impressed thoughts about Halle’s performance.
Parents have started filming their kids’ reactions to Halle as Ariel. And, it’s just the heartwarming content we all need to see. Their excited reactions are the reason why representation truly matters.
These kids didn’t know about the film or that Ariel was a person of color. Pretty much every kid reacted the same way and expressed their joy when they saw that the new Ariel was Black.
@workingmama on TikTok didn’t expect her daughter to react the way her daughter did upon seeing the new teaser trailer for The Little Mermaid. Her daughter even yelled out in joy.
“She’s Black! Mama, she’s Black! What?! Mama! They made a Black Ariel! What!”
@workingmama My daughter’s reaction 😭 to the little mermaid trailer. #littlemermaidtrailer #representationmatters ♬ original sound – 💕 Workingmama💕
@candikane__ on TikTok shared how much her daughter Sienna loves Ariel.
“That is Ariel? It’s her? That’s the real her?”
@candikane__ Sienna loves Ariel #thelittlemermaid #theelittlemermaid #hallebailey #ariel #blindreact #fyp #Sienna #blackgirljoy ♬ original sound – Candie
@authentically_aja captured her daughter watching the teaser trailer on her phone. You can see the awed look on the young girl’s face as she giggled.
“She’s brown like me!”
@authentically_aja Representation Matters 🧜🏾♀️❤️ @halle @Disney #thelittlemermaid #hallebailey #halleisariel #blackgirlmagic #blindreaction ♬ original sound – authentically_aja
In an interview with Variety, Halle opened up about the pressures of playing a Disney princess as a person of color.
Halle fended off trolls ever since she was announced to be cast as Ariel in 2019.
“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. There’s no reason that they shouldn’t be. That reassurance was something that I needed.”
In 2019, the production faced racist backlash over Halle’s casting.
They would say, as far as I knew, mermaids were white. Well, after a quick scan of research, mermaids (like other mythological creatures) have roots in many cultures. This, of course, includes the Ningyo of Japan, the Yawkyawk of Australia, La Sirene of Haiti, Iara of Brazil, and Sedna of North America. Their existence remains woven throughout the world, but not nearly enough of their stories have been widely told.
Natasha Bowen even cited that she wanted to write a story involving magic and the sea. She planned on writing her novel Skin of the Sea and did lots of research. She, then, continued how she discovered stories and beliefs brimmed with magic and history. Bowen focused on West Africa, spurred by her Nigerian heritage. Her research led her to mermaids of African origins.
“After all, Black people can be magic, too. Black people can be mermaids, fairies, gods, and goddesses. Black people can be all that and more.”
Seeing Halle Bailey as The Little Mermaid truly proves that representation matters. That Black people can be magic, too. And, I’m truly excited to see her shine in the upcoming film on May 2023.
Angela Grace P. Baltan is a Communication graduate from Colegio de San Juan de Letran. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, and mental health among others.