Dozens of young Black girls gifted free screening of ‘The Little Mermaid’ at New Orleans theater

Published: May. 28, 2023 at 12:17 AM EDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Two women turned ‘”thingamabobs” into opportunity for dozens of young Black girls Saturday (May 27) at the Broad Theater, giving them a free private screening of the new live-action Disney film “The Little Mermaid,” starring Halle Bailey.

They say this is just one grain of sand on a larger beach of increasing representation in Hollywood.

With a song in her heart, Jaci Roberts clutched her new mermaid Barbie doll and snacked on popcorn with her dad, Jonathan.

“For her to see Halle (Bailey) play that role as ‘The Little Mermaid’ is inspirational,” he said. “Being able to have her see a Disney princess representative of her color and singing songs that she likes to sing.”

The exclusive matinee was completely covered by crowdsourced funds raised by Michelle Seymour and Andrea Fullington.

They say they were inspired to bring these little girls to see themselves reflected on the big screen by moments of their own childhoods.

“I’m a ‘90s baby, so I did grow up with Brandi as Cinderella, Happily Ever After with the black folklore and story tales,” said Seymour. “If anything, I’m happy to see it re-emerge back, because it’s so important for that representation to be consistent.”

The message was received by the little girls.

“I like to see any type of Black person on Disney or Netflix because Black people just entertain a lot of people,” said Karly Dauphine.

Before they went “under the sea,” the little girls loaded up on snacks, took pictures and had their faces painted. The anticipation was building.

“She made these books. It’s basically African-American mermaids of all sizes and they have hair like mine,” said Reign Wiley as she flipped through a coloring book.

For each mermaid in attendance, there was a goodie bag with resources from Project Butterfly New Orleans and the Black Teacher Griot.

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