Singer/ actress Halle Bailey made history as Disney’s first Black Ariel in the release of the live-action take of “The Little Mermaid.”
It debuted during Memorial Day weekend as a box office hit, despite receiving tidal wave-level backsplash from people upset that the fictional character was played by a person of color.
According to Deadline, the three-day opening of $95.5M at the box office. A four-day projection of bumps that number up to $117.5M. Experts factored internationally how much the movie made in theaters and believe that globally “The Little Mermaid” racked in about $163.8M.
Part of the push came from organizations like Jack and Jill of America, sororities, social clubs, and churches, buying out the theaters to make sure there was a huge impact on the important premiere weekend.
The Brooklyn Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta helped sell out viewings of the film at their borough’s Alamo DraftHouse, attending in full DST paraphernalia showings on Saturday and Sunday.
The chapter decided to support and had been gearing up for the release ever since the news of Bailey being cast as the star hit the airwaves.
Outraged by the bigoted remarks on social media and prompted by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s national Red Carpet call to action, the organization hosted several events called “The Browning of the American Musical” featuring George Faison (from “The Wiz,” a Black version of “The Wizard of Oz”); Lillias White (the lead Muse voice in Disney’s “Hercules); Jean-Michelle Grier (Sarabi from Disney’s Broadway production of “The Lion King”); and Eden Duncan-Smith (Isabella in the 2014 Black version of “Annie” and Young Nala in Disney’s Broadway production of “The Lion King”).
Each star spoke about the importance of representation in musicals and the pushback they have received from racist threads of the American public.
The grassroots approach continues to work for the movie, setting it up to be one of the top live-action remakes of Disney’s history.