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These TikTok Reactions To Halle Bailey As Ariel Show The Importance Of Representation

The official teaser trailer for the live-action The Little Mermaid movie starring Halle Bailey was released on Sept. 9, bringing joy and excitement to children and adults alike. The Bailey sisters’ official Twitter page first announced that Bailey would play Ariel in the remake in 2019 — and for three years, many have been looking forward to the live-action remake. 

Unfortunately, with the announcement of her casting and the release of the teaser trailer, Bailey has received backlash from die-hard historians who believe that a Black actress should not play Ariel because it is not “historically accurate,” according to NBC News.

Bailey spoke about the criticism she received to Variety and shared a pivotal and uplifting conversation she had with her grandparents, saying, “It was an inspiring and beautiful thing to hear their words of encouragement, telling me, ‘You don’t understand what this is doing for us, for our community, for all the little Black and brown girls who are going to see themselves in you.’”

The representation of a Black Ariel means so much to young Black and brown girls who look up to Bailey and want — and deserve — to see themselves represented in media. Parents of young Black and brown girls took to TikTok to share videos of their daughters excitedly reacting to the teaser trailer, and on Twitter, user @normanination4 even started a wholesome thread of their reactions. Here are a few of the best reactions.


That’s why representation matters! We can’t wait to watch this ❤️ #fyp #littlemermaid #disney

♬ original sound – Dari

Never thought a movie trailer could make me cry but then I saw @halle and knew how it would make my kids feel. Thanks @disney for making my kids feel seen. Can’t wait to be at Disney World in 12 days! #disney #interacialadoption #representationmatters #littlemermaid #thelittlemermaidtrailer #partofyourworld #blackgirlmagic #girldad #d23 #disneyadult

♬ The Little Mermaid (Marimba Remix) – Harry Goes Boom!

Despite The Little Mermaid remake making strides for Black representation, most Disney princesses are white and have storylines that cater to white audiences. In fact, there are only eight non-white Disney princesses, and according to the Geena Davis Institute, Black girls and women are only 5.7% of leading characters in family films in 2019. And since the 2010 release of The Princess and the Frog, there hasn’t been another Black Disney princess — until now. 

Thanks to Bailey, Ariel has been reimagined in a new way, hopefully making space for more Black and brown female leads in Hollywood — which means the world to Black and brown communities and Bailey herself. Bailey said, “I want the little girl in me and the little girls just like me who are watching to know that they’re special, and that they should be a princess in every single way.”

Rachel is a contributing writer for Her Campus under the Culture and Entertainment verticle. Her articles cover trending topics, including new releases, fan theories, and pop culture news. She has been a part of the Her Campus community since 2019, when she started as a charting member of the Her Campus St. John's University chapter. Rachel was also the chapter's President from Fall 2020 to Spring 2021. As president, Rachel managed the divisions of the chapter, gave weekly updates on progress, and led chapter meetings and events. In 2021, Rachel graduated from St. John's with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and a minor in Business Administration. Rachel has freelanced in Digital Marketing and Copywriting since graduating. As an aspiring multi-media journalist, Rachel enjoys exercising her writing skills on various digital platforms. You can catch Rachel trying out new makeup trends on TikTok, watching her favorite shows, or listening to music in her free time. She is passionate about connecting with people through music, lifestyle, and cultural conversations.