Local family packs theater for Disney’s live action ‘The Little Mermaid’

The live action version of The Little Mermaid is now playing, with some major updates from the classic you may remember.
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 6:44 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Asia Andrew, Chanelle Welch and Gwen Welch are just a tiny portion of the large group heading out to see the reboot of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”

Ariel, the movie’s princess, is played by Halle Bailey, a known vocal artist who earned the role by simply singing.

”It feels awesome amazing, and she did beautiful. She’s just beautiful,” said Asia Andrews, who is ready to see the movie for the second time.

Asia’s mom Chanelle Welch says Asia organized nearly 50 people to pack out one local theater. They are heading there in matching shirts to see Disney’s fifth culturally diverse princess.

“A movie of this magnitude, it meant a lot to see a princess that looks like me, that looks like my daughter,” said Welch.

This remake comes more than 30 years after the original version, breaking many cultural barriers. In Disney’s history, there are only two black Disney princesses, Princess Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog” and Brandy Norwood in the 1997 live-action “Cinderella.”

Desiree Dabney, a musical theatre professor at VCU, has both movies represented in tattoos as a forever memory.

“I have Princess Tiana right here on my arm and Whitney Houston as family godmother on my leg. So seeing things like that showed me, oh, I can do it too,” said Dabney.

As Dabney reflects on how those movies impacted her personal life, she shares how the new “Little Mermaid” can positively impact young audiences and bring confidence to the next generation.

“It shows the world that there is no reason why a fictional character, why a dreamland character, can’t be anything that you want it to be,” Dabney said.