Adults and children alike have all flocked to movie theaters to see the live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.” The highly anticipated film stars Halle Bailey as a beautiful, re-envisioned Ariel. Her casting was quite the controversy for some critics who judged Disney for tapping a Black woman to play a traditionally white character.

The uproar didn’t change the trajectory of the movie’s success, however. The film’s debut this holiday weekend was nothing short of fantastic. It grossed $10.3 million prior to its Friday debut. It pulled in $117.5 million over the weekend, which is just short of its $120 million projections.

“The Little Mermaid” Fans

Halle Bailey has had many supporters since her role was announced in 2020. When the first teaser trailer for the movie came out, many parents shared videos of their children watching and falling in love with seeing Ariel for the first time. “

It’s been such a beautiful moment for me to be able to see the reactions of the babies,” Bailey said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. “It makes me just emotionally overwhelmed honestly and I cry as soon as I watch them.”

Now, the same children are falling in love all over again as they watch the full-length film in theaters.

Even many adults got the chance to enjoy the film. Couples saw the movie for a date night while some women made a girls night out of the film.

Many hometown heroes even hosted private screenings of the movie some solely for little Black girls. It was an opportunity for them to join together and feel like their own mermaid princesses.

A Family Affair


Melody Williams (Halle’s aunt in this video) gave me permission to share. She posted this video, from going to the premier, on facebook and when she looked at him and hugged him, it brought me to tears. It’s a feeling that I will never feel as a white person and cannot even begin to truly understand the feeling, but what I saw was “look how far we’ve come”, “THIS is what we deserve”, “none of our family will EVER do that again” and just peace and pride and mixed with sadness and anger that her grandpa and anyone even had to deal with that oppression. And I felt overwhelmed by just the THOUGHT of how it must feel being in your shoes, his shoes, your grandpa’s shoes, or Halle’s shoes. I can only imagine what you’re truly feeling. Mel, THANK YOU for bringing light to this. ❤️❤️❤️❤️ All the love! I’d let it go viral and tag Little Mermaid 👏 It’s always a slap in the face to white people (myself included) that things like this happened to our friend’s parents, grandparents, & great grandparents. I later learned that Mel’s dad (Halle’s grandfather) in this video also picked cotton as kid. So many of us forget it REALLY wasn’t that long ago. Reminds us to wake up if we’ve gone back asleep for a minute. #littlemermaid #littlemermaid2 #littlemermaid2023 #littlemermaidpremiere #halle #hallebailey #disney #wakeup #disneylittlemermaid @halle @Disney @Disney Studios @Walt Disney Animation Studios

♬ original sound – Don’t follow me 😆

Bailey’s family was front and center, there to support their special mermaid. The actresses’ aunt and grandfather went to a screening of the movie and shared their emotional reactions. In the video posted on TikTok, Bailey’s aunt, Melody Williams, shared that her father used to pick cotton and is now watching his granddaughter become an inspiration for little Black girls all over.

“And look on top of that, Halle’s grandmother picked tobacco in South Carolina as a child,” Williams adds in the video.