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These Heartwarming Reactions to the New ‘Little Mermaid’ Movie Show Why Representation Matters

Unless you’ve been living under the sea, chances are, you might have already heard about the new “The Little Mermaid” trailer — and the controversy surrounding it because of Halle Bailey’s portrayal as Ariel.

That said, we’re crying happy tears at videos of Black daughters reacting to seeing themselves represented in the film.

Amassing millions upon millions of views in just a few days, the trailer for “The Little Mermaid” shows jaw-dropping under-the-sea imagery, scenes of celestial fish, a sunken ship and treasure, and most importantly, the phenomenal Bailey singing “Under The Sea” as our favorite mermaid Ariel.

Hitting all the most epic high notes and reinventing the classic Disney track, there’s no doubt Bailey is already ringing Oscar and Grammy bells — and if you’re familiar with her musical duo Chloe x Halle alongside her sister, you know her voice is amazing. The trailer shows her gorgeous, iridescent mermaid tail, and of course, the trademark, flowing red hair.

Another must-mention? As one Twitter user explained, the super-talented 22-year-old actress “trained herself to hold her breath for three hours in order to ACTUALLY film the movie in the Gulf of Mexico.” As in, fully underwater. No words!

Still, some people have taken to social media to question the upcoming movie’s casting, claiming that Ariel is supposed to look like the 1989 cartoon movie’s version — A.K.A. white with red hair and blue eyes. To that, we would like to remind everyone that Ariel is actually a mythological sea creature that does not exist in real life, and can be any race under the sun (or sea).

As TikTok user @anitaconswing explained it best, Ariel can be any race because she is a “semi-fish” and a “mythological creature that does not exist” in reality. As actress Lynda Carter questioned on Twitter, “People are mad that The Little Mermaid is Black? The lady who is also a fish? Who lives under the sea? Whose best friend is a talking crab?” Make it make sense!

@anitaconswing

#greenscreen mi opinion sobre la sirenita 🧜🏾‍♀️

♬ sonido original – 🌺 Anita con Swing 🌺

While the “controversy” is disheartened, parents of Black daughters have taken to social media to show their adorable reactions to the trailer — seeing themselves represented spectacularly by Bailey’s Ariel. 

Twitter user @normanination4 went viral for making a thread showing “little black kids who are excited to see their favorite princess look like them.” And the videos do not disappoint.

One TikTok video by @preciousavery shows an adorable three-year-old watching the new trailer on the couch, jumping up upon realizing the new Ariel is Black. The toddler smiles, and exclaims, “I think she’s brown,” and we’re melting.

Another TikTok video courtesy of @shavonne_3 shows a precious girl watching the trailer from a tablet in the car, singing along to the iconic song. Her mother asks her, “Does she look like you?” and the girl replies, “Yeah… well she has brown skin.” Smiling, the girl says, “I liked her… she looks pretty.”

@shavonne_3

My baby’s #reaction to #littlemermaid trailer #disney #notmyariel but it’s hers #hatersmad #hallebailey #blackdisney #blackgirlmagic #ShowOffLandOFrost all the hate disguises as criticism. That mermaid unalived herself by walking into the sea and Eric married somebody else

♬ L$d – Luclover

Yet another video shows a child completely entranced by the trailer, stopping her playing just to stare at Bailey’s Ariel in awe. 

@brownbabiesindisney

You know where we will be May 26th!! This is everything for my #BrownBabiesinDisney I’m so glad my kids get @halle as their Ariel! 🧜🏽‍♀️ #representationmatters #thelittlemermaid #myarielisblack #blackgirlmagic #d23expo #hallebailey

♬ original sound – Broadway Direct

Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” will premiere in theaters May 26, 2023. We can’t wait for all its treasures untold.

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