One of the best things so far to come out of Halle Bailey’s casting as Ariel in the upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid is seeing young girls’ reactions to the trailer. Moms have been sharing videos of their Black daughters seeing the new Ariel for the first time, and it is simply magical to see their faces light up when they see themselves represented in the Disney mermaid. While the movie isn’t set to appear in theaters until 2023, I think it’s likely we’ll see more Ariel costumes popping up, with Halloween right around the corner. Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade’s daughter, for one, is already ready.

The Bring It On star tweeted a video of her 3-year-old daughter Kaavia living her best mermaid life, lounging in her purple bikini and shiny green mermaid tail, complete with red wig, of course. Check out Kaavia’s vibe: 

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That hair flip is EVERYTHING. Gabrielle Union pointed out via hashtag that representation matters, and the 3-year-old was looking fabulous channeling that Ariel energy, apparently after seeing Halle Bailey singing in The Little Mermaid trailer “exactly one time.” The actress also shared a video to Instagram of Kaavia showing off her costume and dancing with her dad, retired NBA star Dwyane Wade: 

I love to see little Kaavia dancing with her NBA champion dad! It was pretty impressive, too, the way she had no trouble at all moving and grooving in that mermaid tail. She also seemed to know she looked good with that red hair, as she struck some poses for her photographer mother! The video garnered lots of likes and responses from other celebs, and even drew the attention of Ariel herself, with Halle Bailey remarking: 

omg love it ! 😍❤️

Halle Bailey said it’s been an emotional experience, watching all the videos of young Black girls reacting to seeing a woman of color play the classic princess. She was even overwhelmed the first time she saw herself as Ariel!

Unfortunately the actress has seen some racist backlash to Ariel being portrayed by a person of color, but her family helped to give her perspective on how important what she’s doing is. Halle Bailey has also received support from the original Ariel actress, Jodi Benson, as well as Japanese-American actress Diana Huey, who was the first non-white actress to portray Ariel on a major stage. Walt Disney’s granddaughter even shared her candid thoughts on the diverse casting.

Hopefully the positive comments far outweigh the negative, and I think videos like the ones Gabrielle Union shared, as well as the posts from moms on social media, show just how much of an impact Halle Bailey is having on children. 

As we wait for the premiere of The Little Mermaid, be sure to stay up to date with these other upcoming Disney movies, and you can relive the original 1989 animated film with a Disney+ subscription

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