Posted on September 13, 2022

Parents Are Posting TikToks of Their Black Daughters Getting Excited About Halle Bailey in ‘The Little Mermaid’ Trailer

Morgan Sung, NBC News, September 13, 2022

Parents of young Black girls are posting videos of their thrilled children reacting to the trailer for Disney’s coming live action “Little Mermaid,” which stars Halle Bailey as Ariel.

“Mommy!” a little girl says in a video posted by TikTok user nickyknackpaddywack. “She’s brown like me!”

Her video is among the many being shared across TikTok and Twitter, with parents using hashtags like #representationmatters to help demonstrate the importance of diverse casting in children’s media.

Disney debuted a teaser trailer of the film at D23 over the weekend. The trailer has amassed almost 11 million views on YouTube.

But its release reignited racist backlash online, which first surfaced in 2019 following news of Bailey’s casting, from some people who said they think Disney is “too woke” for making the film’s title character Black.

In the original animated film, released in 1989, Ariel, a fictional mermaid, is depicted as a white, red-haired woman.

In one of the reaction videos, posted by TikTok user Precious Avery, a toddler named Emery lounges on the couch but sits up when she Bailey appears on screen.

“I think she’s brown!” a beaming Emery says in the video. “Brown Ariel is cute.”

TikTok user callmedarii posted a similar video of her daughters’ delighted reactions to seeing Ariel.

“That’s why representation matters! We can’t wait to watch this,” she captioned the video.

“Is Ariel actually Black?” a young girl says in a video posted by TikTok user jendayis682.

“In this ‘Little Mermaid’ she will be,” the person recording the video responds.

“Do you understand how it feels for our babies to see themselves in the fairy tales that the world said wasn’t made for them,” jendayis682 wrote in the caption. “Say what you want and complain all you want … I hear nothing over the joy and excitement that this little girl has over seeing a person that represent[s] her.”

The new “Little Mermaid” will feature four additional songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, more detailed mermaid tails and a Black princess, director Rob Marshall said at D23, Variety reported.


Critics have claimed the casting isn’t faithful to Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, which was originally published in Denmark.