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'The Little Mermaid' acts as rare reflection for young, Black girls in Kansas City

The Little Mermaid premiere
Posted at 9:26 PM, May 26, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mermaid dolls, check. Matching shirts, check.

On Friday, four Kansas City girls — Aminah and Syiah Muhammad, and Parker and Sidney Strother — had it all and were ready to see the newest movie making waves — the live-action Little Mermaid.

There isn’t much else that can leave them speechless.

“She actually has red hair,” Syiah Muhammad said.

The four girls were mesmerized as they prepared to watch the movie.

"The new Ariel," Aminah Muhammad said.

Seeing someone who looks like them on the big screens, and in such a big acting role, had them proud.

"(She's a) Black Ariel," Syiah Muhammad said.

Parker Strother said, "I never watched Black Ariel, only the other Ariel."

The Little Mermaid is more than just a Disney character.

 "She has locs, she's natural — It's a beautiful thing," said Sabirah Strother, Sidney and Parker's mom.

Their pride could be heard while they sang "Under the Sea." When these girls see a Black mermaid, they see themselves.

“Sometimes I feel like a mermaid when I’m swimming," Sidney Strother said. "I go really deep down into the pool.”

Ariel isn’t just for the kids. It’s also full circle moment for Sabirah Strother.

“It takes me back my childhood," she said. "It’s one of my favorite movies."

Now, she wants it to be special for them too.

"I'm excited to experience it in a different way with my daughters and my nieces can experience a Black Ariel," she said.