“The Little Mermaid” star Halle Bailey is in “awe” over the reaction to the live-action film’s first trailer, which debuted Sept. 9 at D23. The brief clip includes a first look at Bailey singing “Part of Your World
as the mermaid Ariel. Parents on TikTok have been uploading clips of their young children watching the 90-second teaser trailer, a supercut of which found its way to Bailey herself.
“People have been sending these reactions to me all weekend and I’m truly in awe,” Bailey wrote on Twitter while sharing a surpercut of young Black girls becoming emotional while watching the trailer. “This means the world to me.”
Kerry Washington also shared a supercut of Black girls reacting to “The Little Mermaid” teaser. One of the girls in the video shouts at the screen, “She’s like me! She’s like me!,” when Bailey’s Ariel makes her debut.
“I can’t stop watching these,” Washington wrote. “Halle Bailey, see what you’re doing to us?”
Rob Marshall directed the live-action “Little Mermaid,” which stars Bailey opposite Daveed Diggs, Jacob Tremblay, Awkwafina, Jonah Hauer-King, Javier Bardem and Melissa McCarthy. While many have championed Bailey’s casting, she has been subjected to racist backlash on social media from some fans who are upset that a Black actor is playing Ariel. The hashtag #NotMyAriel sprung up on Twitter after Bailey’s casting, but she told Variety that her family helped her drown out the backlash. Bailey’s grandparents shared their own memories with her of the racism and discrimination that they had endured in their lifetimes.
“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,’” Bailey said.
Bailey also overcame the backlash by thinking about how such a casting would’ve impacted her as a young girl. “What that would have done for me, how that would have changed my confidence, my belief in myself, everything,” she said. “Things that seem so small to everyone else, it’s so big to us.”
As reported by Variety, “The Little Mermaid” teaser earned 104 million views globally during its first weekend online. That number is higher than all of Disney’s recent live-action trailer debuts, including “Cruella” (68 million views), “Beauty and the Beast” (94 million views), “Aladdin” (74 million views) and “Maleficent 2” (62 million views). Due to Queen Elizabeth II’s death on Thursday, “The Little Mermaid” metrics did not include views from the U.K., Ireland and Australia.
Disney is set to open “The Little Mermaid” in theaters on May 26, 2023.