Over the weekend, Disney debuted the official teaser trailer for the upcoming Little Mermaid film, which has now garnered over 11 million views on YouTube.
Black women of all ages have been sharing TikTok videos of their reactions to Bailey taking on the groundbreaking role, using hashtags like #representationmatters to note the importance of diversity in media.
“Mommy!” a young girl says in a TikTok posted by user nickyknackpaddywack. “She’s brown like me!”
In another reaction video, a three-year-old girl named Emery can be seen laying on a couch before she quickly pops up when Bailey appears on screen.
“I think she’s brown!” Emery says in a video posted by TikTok user Precious Avery. “Brown Ariel is cute.”
TikTok user callmedarii posted a similar clip of her daughters’ heartwarming reaction to seeing Ariel.
“That’s why representation matters! We can’t wait to watch this,” the video’s caption reads.
Despite all of the touching responses to the trailer, its debut sparked another wave of racist backlash from people who believe Disney is “too woke” for casting Bailey as Ariel, a fictional mermaid depicted as a white woman with red hair in the original 1989 animated film.
Yet, Black families aren’t letting critics stop them from enjoying the upcoming movie.
“Is Ariel actually Black?” a young girl asks in another video posted by TikTok user jendayis682.
“In this ‘Little Mermaid’ she will be,” someone responds in the clip.
“Do you understand how it feels for our babies to see themselves in the fairy tales that the world said wasn’t made for them,” the TikTok’s caption reads. “Say what you want and complain all you want … I hear nothing over the joy and excitement that this little girl has over seeing a person that represent[s] her.”
Do you understand how it feels for our babies to see themselves in the fairy tales that the world said wasn’t made for them. Say what you want and complain all you want I hear nothing over the joy and excitement this little girl has over seeing a person that represent her. #littlemermaid #MarleyGraceWORLD #littlemermaid2023 #blackgirlrepresentation #BlackGirlSeeThemselves
Watch the full teaser trailer of The Little Mermaid here.