Atlanta family’s video of young Black daughters reacting to “The Little Mermaid” trailer goes viral

ATLANTA — Disney fans finally got their first look “The Little Mermaid” live-action film starring Halle Bailey as Ariel after a teaser trailer dropped at D23 Expo over the weekend.

The movie doesn’t land in theaters until May 2023, but reactions to the trailer have taken over social media.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

There has been some criticism toward Disney for casting a Black lead when Ariel was white in the original animated movie. But sweet reactions from little girls around the world seeing a black Ariel once again proves that representation matters.

It’s the excitement from his girls that Atlanta dad William Fleming says fills his heart.

“I’m a sucker for them reacting to anything, it can be the littlest of things,” he told Channel 2′s Heather Catlin. “But to see them react to this and see other young Black girls around the country react the same way, it definitely touched us.”


That’s why representation matters! We can’t wait to watch this ❤️ #fyp #littlemermaid #disney

♬ original sound - Dari

Fleming’s wife filmed their two daughters, 4-year-old McKenzie and 2-year-old Riley, as they watched in amazement.

The video posted on TikTok has been viewed over 2 million times and has 372,000. It even got the attention of Bailey, who grew up in Atlanta with her sister Chlöe.


Fleming told Catlin that he knows historically that Disney princesses have not looked like his daughters. He appreciates Disney providing a real-life example that his daughters can accomplish anything they dream about.

“I have a huge heart and just appreciate Disney so much for taking a chance to say hey diversity matters and we’re going to show it,” Fleming said.

The film’s director Rob Marshall says it was important to honor the original while also bringing some depth to the new film.

The movie will also feature four brand new songs from the original composer Alan Menken with help from Lin Manuel Miranda.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]