The Little Mermaid’s Halle Bailey meets original Ariel voice actor Jodi Benson and it’s oh so wholesome

Composite photo of Halle Bailey on the red carpet with her hugging Jodi Benson

The Little Mermaid red carpet – well, blue actually –was blessed with a “magical” moment as its star Halle Bailey shared an embrace with Jodi Benson, the original voice of Ariel. 

Disney’s much-anticipated live-action remake of the 1989 animated classic has officially had its world premiere, and pictures of the stars went viral at the screening in Los Angeles for more than just the glamorous outfits, as Bailey, 23, hugged and posed with 61-year-old Benson. 

In a TikTok shared by Disney, Bailey, whose performance has been described as phenomenal, is seen at the premiere in an emotional embrace with Benson. “We’re all crying here,” Disney’s caption reads. 

One fan responded with: “Love this so much. Truly a magical moment.”

Another commented: “The Little Mermaid was my first movie in 1989, it will be my daughter’s first movie in 2023.”

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly at the premiere on Tuesday (9 May), Benson described Bailey as brilliant.

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“I did get to meet her a few times and chat with her and just tell her how proud I was of her, and I love that she has a purity of heart and a pure spirit. I’m so thrilled for her,” said Benson, who was also the voice of Barbie in Toy Story 3.

While Halle Bailey has been subject to racist abuse since it was announced she would be taking on the role of Ariel in 2019, she said she is grateful to be providing representation for young Black girls.

When the film’s first trailer was released last year, parents began to share their children’s joyful reactions to seeing the actress as Ariel, with one heartwarming TikTok showing a fan shouting: “She’s Black. Mama, she’s Black. Mama, they made a Black Ariel.”

Halle Bailey said: “Seeing all the babies’ reactions, all the brown and Black young girls, really tore me up emotionally. It’s honestly been such a crazy ride, and I genuinely feel shocked and honoured and grateful to be in this position. A lot of times, I have to pinch myself and [ask], ‘Is this real life?’”