The teaser trailer for “The Little Mermaid” was released Friday to mixed reviews.
Social media was flooded with adorable videos of little black girls excited to discover that the new Ariel played by Halle Bailey looks just like them.
A viral TikTok, captioned “when your favorite Disney princess looks like you,” shows a 3-year-old girl sitting up instantly as soon as Ariel swims across the screen.
Little Avery gasps and is completely entranced by the trailer. She puts her hand on her heart and says, “I think she’s brown.”
Absolutely radiant, the young girl declares “brown Ariel is cute.” The video quickly gained 5.3 million views and thousands of comments from people expressing their love for the heartwarming video, including Bailey herself.
“Oh my god, my heart,” the R&B singer replied on the video.
In another viral video, a black girl becomes mesmerized by the trailer. When Ariel comes on screen and starts singing, the baby puts her toy down and stops playing, completely captivated by the trailer.
“Thank you for giving my baby this @halle,” mother Cheryl Neufville captioned the video, which has racked up 7.3 million views in less than 24 hours.
Bailey herself re-shared some of the adorable videos on her personal Twitter account.
“KI was just sobbing when I saw this, thanks for being so sweet,” the singer commented on a video of a young black girl grinning throughout the trailer. “Is that Ariel?” little Sienna asks her mom in the video as she giggles excitedly.
The actress also shared a video compilation of little black girls overjoyed to discover that the new Ariel is “brown like me”.
“People have been sending me these comments all weekend and I’m really impressed that this means the world to me,” Bailey said of Twitter.
Disney announced in 2019 that the “Greenish” actress would star as the popular princess in the class’s live-action remake and was immediately struck with a wide range of reactions.
The official trailer posted Friday to the Walt Disney Studios YouTube channel has racked up 13.9 million views in just a few days. The video has 626,000 likes, but Disney was forced to turn off dislikes after receiving 1.5 million thumbs-downs in just two days, the Daily Mail reported.
Some have taken to Twitter to express their dismay at Ariel being played by a black woman with the hashtag #NotMyAriel, but many have made fun of the ridiculousness.
Detractors’ comments are tainted with racism and express their disapproval of Bailey’s casting, noting that the original 1989 animated film “The Little Mermaid” portrays Ariel as white. Meanwhile, others have noted that the mermaid princess is a fictional character in a magical world where race plays no part in the character’s story.
The voice of the original Ariel, Jodi Benson, has supported Bailey’s retaliation for the iconic role since Disney first announced the casting.
“The important thing is to tell the story,” Benson said.
Bailey’s version of “The Little Mermaid” will become part of our world on May 26, 2023.