Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Black Kids’ Reactions to Halle Bailey’s The Little Mermaid Teaser Is the Most Heartwarming Thing You’ll See All Week

Black kids excitedly discovering that Ariel looks just like them are the only reviews that matter.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled Black Kids’ Reactions to Halle Bailey’s The Little Mermaid Teaser Is the Most Heartwarming Thing You’ll See All Week
Photo: Disney

On Friday night at D23 Expo 2022, I was one of the lucky 7,500 people who got to see the entire “Part of Your World” sequence from the upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. The more Halle Bailey’s Ariel sang about wanting to live on the surface with humans, it became increasingly clear that we were watching a star-making moment. At the end of the video, an enraptured audience of die-hard Disney fans gave the grown-ish actress a standing ovation as she appeared on stage.

The Little Mermaid - Official Teaser Trailer

As the clip played, I became emotional thinking about how I can’t wait to take my niece to this film, so she can have the experience of seeing a beautiful Black woman play one of her favorite Disney princesses. However, according to the internet, I’m not allowed to have this moment because in the original 1989 Disney movie, Ariel is white.

Guys, we’re talking about a half-woman/half-fish who makes a deal with an evil octopus to give up her voice so she can meet a very boring prince—and her best friends are a yellow tropical fish and a singing crab. So considering how firmly detached from reality all of this is, why are people so threatened that they cast a Black actress to play Ariel?

I know that the backlash will only get worse as the film’s May 26 release gets closer, and we’ll have plenty of time to discuss it in every horrible way. However, today let’s focus on the positive.

Advertisement

Friday also signaled the release of the film’s first teaser, which features a much shorter clip of Ariel singing a snippet of “Part of Your World.” Soon afterward, there were plenty of amazing reactions on social media from the movie’s most important audience: children. An adorable thread of Black kids reacting to the trailer appeared on Twitter, and it shows exactly why representation matters. Seriously, if the little girl who literally falls out while proclaiming “she’s brown like me” doesn’t move you, you’re probably a robot.

Advertisement

The magnitude of being Ariel is not lost on Bailey, who told Variety in August, “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.”

It’s also worth noting that the teaser racked up 104 million worldwide views since its debut, passing the numbers of other live-action Disney hits like Cruella, Beauty and the Beast and Maleficent, per Variety.

Advertisement

Halle knows exactly what these kids are feeling because she knows how it would have felt for her to have this kind of representation.

“What that would have done for me, how that would have changed my confidence, my belief in myself, everything,” she said. “Things that seem so small to everyone else, it’s so big to us.”