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Updated: Oct 6, 2022

Highlight: Disney cast Halle Bailey as Ariel in it’s live action version of The Littler Mermaid and the move is revealing barriers on all sides that definitely needed to be broken down. Barriers about what is OK or beautiful or allowed to be brown from a race perspective and barriers about what’s possible and about how much beauty looks like you from black and brown girls’ perspective.

According to USA Today “Halle Bailey's portrayal of Ariel in "The Little Mermaid" is spreading a much-needed dose of Black Girl Magic to the next generation.

A teaser trailer for director Rob Marshall's live-action adaptation of the classic Disney animated film was released Friday, featuring Bailey as the iconic redheaded mermaid, and little girls everywhere are overjoyed. Many parents have shared videos on the internet of their children's adorable blind reactions to the trailer.

A young girl named Sienna couldn't believe that her "favorite mermaid" had been brought to life by Bailey.

"That is Ariel? That is her?" said Sienna in wide-eyed amazement.”

Context: So, who says she slayed? Check out the headlines for Bailey’s performance:

  • USA Today - Halle Bailey in 'The Little Mermaid' trailer thrills young girls: 'Brown Ariel is cute'

  • Cinema Blend - The Sweet Way Chloe Bailey Celebrated Halle Bailey After The First Trailer For The Little Mermaid

  • KPBS San Diego - Halle Bailey's 'Little Mermaid' is already making waves among young Black girls

  • Halle Bailey's 'Little Mermaid' is already making waves among young Black girls

  • CNET - Halle Berry Isn't Ariel in Live-Action 'Little Mermaid': The Mixup, Explained

  • BuzzFeed via Yahoo - "The Little Mermaid" Trailer Is Finally Here, And Halle Bailey Proves She Was Born For This Role

  • Black America Web - Representation Mattrs: Little Black Girls React To Seeing Halle Bailey In ‘The Little Mermaid’ Teaser Trailer

  • People Magazine - Jodi Benson, Voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid , Praises Halle Bailey's 'Amazing' Performance

  • Entertainment Weekly via Yahoo -Halle Bailey's Little Mermaid performance has the fin of approval from original Ariel

There has been a distorted narrative around beauty for a long time in the United States as well as for other countries. Many people would like to claim that we have moved past seeing race, but too many instances, like the recent reactions to seeing people of color in Fantasy genre films and shows. So many people are making far-fetched claims about why Fantasy characters cannot be brown, one many even went as far as to claim that Ariel could not be brown based on scientific evidence (remember, Ariel is not real, the only science about her original Disney version is the design and science of imagination and animation).


  • Be courageous - great brands make sacrifices and stand for things larger than they are

  • Fly High - The high road is well favored by history and usually sponsors - do what Michelle said, go high

  • Remember - Artists should remember that representation still matters - what you do, wear, promote on your platform, in your lyrics, with your body still matters and affects the rest of your community, please choose wisely

Questions & Next Steps:

  • Help - How can you help change the narrative?

    1. Support - Support the movie, go see it at the theater or pay to stream it.

    2. No Bootleg - Say no to bootlegging, seeing the money make money tells Hollywood to support films like this one.

    3. Be Timely - Try to go se the movie opening weekend. Opening week box-office numbers are measured carefully and seeing a strong box office will tell Hollywood to make more movies like this.

  • Check & Promote -Check your song catalog for relevant songs, (songs relevant to inclusion, that celebrates beauty in all shades, etc), then promote them as a supportive playlist while this topic and movie is hot

  • Create - What 'music that matters' can you create next?



Rok Johan
Rok Johan
May 14, 2023



Gerdilin Sertan
Gerdilin Sertan
May 11, 2023


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