Black Girl Magic is in full swing as African-American singer Halle Bailey has been cast in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.”
The 19-year-old Chloe x Halle member will be the second black woman to portray a Disney Princess, following in the footsteps of Brandy Norwood in 1997’s Cinderella.
Walt Disney Studios announced the casting decision Wednesday, and fans have since expressed joy at seeing a woman of colour in the lead role.
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Bailey and her 21-year-old sister, Chloe, who make up the music group Chloe x Halle, first gained acclaim by posting YouTube covers of Beyoncé before they were later discovered by the R&B singer and her record label.
The sisters opened up for Beyoncé in 2017 for part of her Formation World Tour and released their first studio album, “The Kids Are Alright,” in 2018.
Bailey, who also stars in the Freeform series “Grown-ish”, will now play the role of the mermaid princess Ariel as she seeks to fall in love with a human prince on land.
She shared the news in a tweet on Wednesday and described the casting a ‘dream come true.’
Bailey is joining a cast that includes Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina, while Melissa McCarthy is in talks to play Ursula, according to Variety. The film, directed by Rob Marshall, is expected to be released in 2020.
It will incorporate classic songs such as “Under the Sea”, “Part of Your World” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls”, as well as, new music from Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
“After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance – plus a glorious singing voice – all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role,” Marshall said.
In recent years, Disney has been investing in live-action remakes for several of its classic films, including “Beauty and the Beast”, “Aladdin,” and “The Lion King.”
Bailey’s role has been hailed by many people on social media who are satisfied with the decision to introduce more diverse princesses in Disney films. A few are, however, not pleased that a Black woman is playing a fictional white mermaid.
Here are some of the reactions: