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  • Rayshaun

What’s Tea Under the Sea?!

Y’all, this past week the REALEMN team got the chance to check out Disney’s historic and groundbreaking new live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid!

There’s been so much hype and discussion about this film ever since Disney announced their casting of singer/actress Halle Bailey as the first Black Ariel and we are pleased to say the film (nor Halle for that matter!) did not disappoint.

Since the original animated film starring Jodi Benson came out in 1989, The Little Mermaid has been cemented as a classic in the Disney canon. It has been loved and admired by generations, and this new reimagining of the beloved classic revives and renews that love and admiration for a whole new audience.

The 2023 version of The Little Mermaid is directed by Rob Marshall with the screenplay by David Mcgee. It is co-produced by Marc Platt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jon Deluca, and of course Walt Disney.

Joining the newest Disney princess Halle as Ariel, the star-studded cast includes Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Awkwafina as Scuttle, and Jonah Andre Hauer-King as Prince Eric. Typically, with a jam-packed cast like this, the general public can rightfully become a bit concerned about how good the film will be, but I am here to say the entire cast slayed! Each member of this ensemble understood the assignment and took these iconic characters and made them their own. There was a beautiful balance of newness and nostalgia. Something for all of us to appreciate.

The themes of The Little Mermaid rang a bit truer for the world we live in today. A young and spirited young woman, seeking more for her life, and inspired and curious about a world she doesn’t know much about but is determined to explore. This adaptation also makes a few tweaks to further lean into the idea that Ariel doesn’t need a Prince to save her, or a man telling her what to do or who to love. Ultimately, in the end, she saves herself, her Prince, and her family! She remains true to who she is and reclaims her voice (literally and figuratively!).

I simply got all the feels watching this film. Even in my big ol’ age who was a fan of the original many moons ago, this is a film I am so happy to see get a new spin and a new look, especially for a new generation and audience. During my time at the theater, I loved being able to see families from all different backgrounds, folks coming with their friends for nostalgia, and people from all demographics taking part in this historic moment! Our REALEMN team’s heartstrings were especially pulled by four-year-old little Miss Lula McClure, daughter of Ashley McClure and granddaughter of Toni Stewart who was there to see The Little Mermaid for the very first time! Phew, all the feels, y’all! What a reminder of how important it is for folks of all creeds, ages, and backgrounds to see themselves reflected in positive and uplifting ways, and this film does just that!! Thank you, Halle Bailey!!! Representation matters, y’all. Don’t be a ‘poor unfortunate soul’! If you want to be ‘part of our world’ go and see this film okay?!!

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