“Boy, was I obsessed!” Mary Jorge says of seeing The Little Mermaid “It feels like just yesterday. I remember going to the movies with my family for the very first time in 1989. “It feels like just yesterday. … I can’t believe it’s been over 30 years.”
Jorge, a 41-year old mother of 3, has not let the years dim her love for this Disney animated classic. “I still know all the lyrics to the soundtrack and I have a box in my basement filled with all the dolls and costumes I collected when I was younger,” she tells Yahoo Life.
She’s now sharing the contents of this box with her daughter, the only one of her children who shares her love for the film. Lilly, who is 7 years old, thinks it’s “pretty cool” that her mother had Little Mermaid dolls.
“I like that Mommy knows Ariel because she sings to me and her voice sounds like Ariel’s,” Lilly says.
Angela Karanja also shares Jorge’s love. Karanja has been a mother for 47 years, and is an author at Raising Remarkable Teenagers. Karanja admits that, even though she did not watch the movie until she turned 18, she still “loved and will always love” it.
Karanja’s daughter is now eagerly awaiting the release of the live-action remake on May 26, 2019. Rob Marshall directed the film. The Little Mermaid made waves when it was announced in 2019 that actress and singer Halle Bailey, one half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle, would be playing Ariel. Karanja is thrilled to see the Black woman portraying Ariel.
“I’m very excited, for me and all young Black girls,” she says. “This is not just great for kids but also for parents of Black kids who now have something to point to as a reference when encouraging their kids to dream on and dream big.”
As a result, 23-year old Bailey has been the victim of racist trolling. Karanja thinks the backlash has been a bit disproportionate and deserved. “To think that a fairy tale can be owned by a certain group of people is simply atrocious,” she says. “The story of Ariel is the story of a young girl wanting to dream and hope and be adventurous. These are human qualities that are not reserved for a particular race and not others.”
Naomi Simmons is a mother to three daughters. Simmons tells Yahoo Life her daughters wept when they watched the first time. It is important to note that the word “you” means “you”. Little Mermaid trailer.
“It was such an emotional day at my home,” she says. “I’ve always known representation matters, but watching my babies tear up really put that into perspective for me.”
Abigail, her daughter, agrees. “My friends and I are so excited for it,” she tells Yahoo Life “Other than Tiana, we’ve never really had a princess that looked like us. My best friend has locs, but they’re not as long as Ariel’s. It’s still very cool though.”
Disney is also releasing dolls based on the movie, including Bailey’s Ariel. Bailey described having a doll created after her as a “really, really special moment” in a March interview with Yahoo Life Tayler Adigun.
Bailey said, “I cried when I saw [her].” “It was a very emotional moment, because I remembered as a young girl wanting a doll to look like me. The dolls that I did end up having — I think there was this really amazing Black American Girl doll that I used to have and then Destiny’s Child came out with their dolls — really were just staples for me as a little girl, and just did so much for my self-esteem. It’s really surreal to be able o see my self in one.”
Jasmine Williams is a 32-year old mom of two sons who pre-ordered Ariel when she first saw them. She kept one as a collectors’ item and gave the other to her children.
“When I saw the video of Halle Bailey unveiling the doll I gasped. They are so beautiful and this is something so many Black women needed as little girls,” says Williams, who plans to host a viewing party for her kids, their friends and her girlfriends when the film is eventually released on Disney+. “In the ’90s, visually appealing Black dolls were few and far between. “I’m so glad we have choices now.”
Simmons’ children are also thrilled about the dolls. “They’ve made me promise over and over to get it for them,” she says. “Even my oldest, who has never been a huge fan of dolls.”
Jorge, Karanja Simmons and Williams are Black mothers who have grown up without the representation that they desired. Little Mermaid The film and doll phenomenon is much more than pop culture.
“In a world where Black women are continually demanding to be seen, heard and respected, we deserve to see ourselves in positions where we are adored,” Williams says.
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