While some took issue with the news that Halle Bailey – aka one half of R&B duo Chloe x Halle – was cast as Ariel, who has mostly been portrayed as a red head and white woman, we were ecstatic because diversity in movies is necessary. And now it seems that that ABC has followed parent company Disney’s lead and also cast a woman of color for its live musical iteration of The Little Mermaid (titled Little Mermaid Live!). Auli’i Cravalho, who is of Hawaiian and Puerto Rican descent, will play the main role in the musical that will air this November.
Cravalho, best known for playing the title role in Moana, will be joined by some superstar talent, including Queen Latifah, who will play Ursula, and Shaggy will star as Sebastian, according to the Los Angeles Times.
While you may be thinking that there are one too many Ariels at the moment, ABC isn’t worried about competing with Disney’s live-action film. “I’m not really worried about overshadowing the other,” ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke said. “The timing is so different. Ours premieres in the fall. The movie will hit theaters long after that.”