Yara Shahidi Calls Her and Halle Bailey Playing Disney Icons “Beautiful”

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Disney is doing their due diligence to keep our screens as diverse as they can. Their latest effort is casting Yara Shahidi as Tinkerbell in the live-action version of Peter Pan & Wendy.

The company is not letting up on the Black girl magic. Disney announced last week that the new film will be available on Disney+ April 28th. This comes a month before The Little Mermaid hits theaters on May 26th. Halle Bailey will be playing the red-haired mermaid lead, Ariel.

The Grown-ish co-stars have been supporting each other as they are creating history. Shahidi spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about her thoughts on Disney’s recent castings. “So excited to watch Halle onscreen—if there’s anybody that is a princess just in real life, in the world, it’s Halle,” she gushed.

Similar to when the news released of Bailey’s role, social media users were up in arms with having Shahidi playing a traditionally white character. She touched on her thoughts about the backlash. “I think oftentimes people think of diversity and inclusion as threatening or jeopardizing the quality of the story,” she explained. “Instead of seeing how beautifully they can be interwoven together to create something that impacts even more people, that lets even more people into stories that we love.”

Yara Shahidi’s Thoughts On Diversity

The first full trailer for The Little Mermaid premiered on Sunday during the Academy Award broadcast. The live-action remake released a teaser in September of last year. While many adults shared their outrage on the internet, many parents of excited children shared videos of their pleasant reactions to seeing Bailey on the screen.

While the first look at Peter Pan & Wendy didn’t have much Tinkerbell footage, viewers did get a glimpse at Shahidi’s Tinkerbell. The importance of these characters does not go unnoticed. She spoke on her thoughts about the positive feedback these characters have gotten through the outrage.

“What’s been beautiful is seeing the response to both of our characters,” she explains. “Seeing how many people feel included in this fairy tale, while also maintaining the magic that we love in the first place.”