The trailer for “The Little Mermaid” was released on Friday to mixed reviews.
Social media has been flooded with adorable videos of black girls excitedly discovering that the new Ariel, played by Halle Bailey, looks just like them.
A viral TikTok, captioned, “when your favorite Disney princess looks just like you,” shows a 3-year-old girl immediately sitting up once Ariel swims across the screen.
Little Avery gasps and is completely mesmerized by the trailer. He puts his hand over his heart and says, “I think she’s a brunette.”
Absolutely radiant, the young woman declares that “brunette Ariel is cute.” The video quickly racked up 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 responded to the video.
In another viral video, a black girl is mesmerized by the trailer. When Ariel reaches the screen and begins to sing, the baby drops her toy and stops playing, completely enthralled by the trailer.
“Thank you for giving my baby this @halle,” mother Cheryl Neufville captioned the video, which racked up 7.3 million views in less than 24 hours.
Bailey herself shared some of the adorable videos on her personal Twitter account.
“KI sobbed seeing this, thank you, it’s so sweet.” the singer commented in a video of a young black woman smiling throughout the trailer. “Is that Ariel?” little Sienna asks her mother in the video as she laughs excitedly.
The actress also shared a black video compilation filled with joy to discover that the new Ariel “is dark like me”.
“People have been sending me these reactions all weekend and I’m really in awe, this means a lot to me,” Bailey said on Twitter.
Disney announced in 2019 that the “Grown-ish” actress would play the popular princess in the live-action remake of the class and immediately received a wide range of reactions.
The official trailer posted on the Walt Disney Studios YouTube channel on Friday has gathered 13.9 million views and counting in a matter of days. The video has 626,000 likes, but Disney was forced to turn off dislikes after receiving 1.5 million likes in just two days, the Daily Mail reported.
Some took to Twitter to express their anger that a black woman played Ariel using the hashtag #NotMyAriel, but many scoffed at the ridiculousness.
Comments from critics have been tinged with racism as they 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 has no bearing on the character’s story.
The voice of the original Ariel, Jodi Benson, has supported Bailey’s take on the iconic role since Disney first announced the casting.
“The most 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.