Entertainment And News

Parents Of Black Children Sharing Their Kids’ Reactions To ‘The Little Mermaid’ Prove Representation Matters

Photo: TikTok / Disney
The Little Mermaid, Halle Bailey

Disney just released a trailer for their upcoming film, “The Little Mermaid,” which will debut in 2023.

The movie is a live-action remake of the animated Disney classic film with the same title, which was released in 1989, except this time, it will star Halle Bailey, a Black woman, as Ariel.

While the announcement that Bailey had been cast received plenty of backlash from traditionalists who rejected the idea of a Black Ariel, videos online showing children react to the first footage from the movie show that the critics have no idea how important Disney's casting choice is.

RELATED: Mom Shares Heartwarming Video Of Disney Princess Surprising Deaf Daughter By Using Sign Language

Mothers of Black children have been sharing their kids' reactions to 'The Little Mermaid.'

“When your favorite Disney princess looks like you,” TikTok user @preciousavery wrote in a textpost over a video of her three-year-old daughter watching the trailer.

“I think she’s Brown!” the little girl exclaims excitedly when Ariel appears on the screen. “Brown Ariel!” she squeals with joy as she continues watching. 

   

   

TikTok user @cellidelli00 also shared a video of her children’s reaction to the trailer.

“She’s pretty,” her son says of Bailey as Ariel. “And she’s Black!” her daughter adds.

The two marvel over princess Ariel’s hair. 

   

   

A father shared an adorable video of his daughters watching the trailer for the first time.

“She’s Black?! Yay!” one of his daughters celebrates when she sees Ariel. 

   

   

Other TikTok users expressed their love for the trailer and the representation of a Black Disney princess.

“All these videos of these beautiful little girls seeing representation has me an absolute blubbering mess. I never want these videos to stop,” one user wrote under one of the videos. 

“Oh my gosh SO beautiful!! I’m crying! THIS is why representation matters so incredibly much,” another commented. 

The children’s reactions display the importance of representation in film. 

A lack of equal representation and characters that originate from various cultures in the media can result in internalized racism among children

“Growing up, I always felt my features were inadequate and ugly, simply because I was Asian,” Laura Truong wrote in an article about film representation published by The Teen Magazine. “Part of this was due to the lack of representation I saw, especially in films with pretty princesses who, more or less, had the same features.” 

RELATED: Mom Shares Video Of Chuck E. Cheese Worker Allegedly Refusing To Interact With Black Child

Truong claims that portraying diverse characters creates “a safe space” for minorities and they can see characters whom they can resonate with and establish validity and feel that they are seen and heard.

“Showing representation, especially on a platform catered to young audiences, can help promote awareness and educate people about different cultures,” she added. 

Representation can also combat negative and offensive stereotypes and racism

In recent years, Disney has released numerous children’s films that portray a wide array of different cultures and represent various identities. 

“Coco” celebrates Mexican culture and holidays such as the Day of the Dead, “Moana” depicts Polynesian traditions, and “Encanto” depicts life in a Colombian household. 

Accurate representation in films will promote more inclusive environments. 

“The Little Mermaid” is set to be released in theaters in May 2023. 

RELATED: Why The New Trailer For Disney's 'Encanto' Made Me — A Grown Man — Cry

Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships. 

Sign up for YourTango's free newsletter!