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Academy Award and Grammy-winning recording artist H.E.R. is about to become a Disney princess!
The 25-year-old singer-songwriter will play Belle as part of “Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration,” Disney’s latest live-action TV special, which will air on Dec. 15 on ABC at 8 p.m. eastern and then stream on Disney+ starting Dec. 16, according to DGE Press.
H.E.R. will be the first Afro Filipina woman to play the role of Belle on screen, according to the press release from DGE Press.
“I can’t believe I get to be a part of the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ legacy,” H.E.R. said in the press statement. “The world will see a Black and Filipino Belle! I have always wanted to be a Disney princess, and I get to work with two wonderful directors Hamish Hamilton and my favorite, Jon M. Chu. It is very surreal and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
Jon M. Chu, the special’s executive producer, shared his excitement over the project’s leading lady.
“With her obvious extraordinary talent and stage presence, H.E.R. is the perfect embodiment of our Belle and we are thrilled for audiences to see her in this celebration of creativity,” Chu said in the press release. “We were both influenced as storytellers by the original animated movie, so it’s very exciting to collaborate together to honor the artistry of that timeless classic while also inspiring a whole new generation of creators.”
The announcement comes as Disney continues to embrace diversity in casting for its main roles. A live-action version of “The Little Mermaid” will star Halle Bailey as Ariel and feature Awkwafina as Scuttle the seagull.
ABC and Disney announced the upcoming “Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration” special on July 5, and more casting news is on the way. However, the production company did share more information on what fans can expect from this tribute to one of Disney’s most popular animated films.
“This two-hour animated and live-action blended special will pay tribute to the original Disney Animation’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and its legacy by showcasing the fan-favorite movie, along with new memorable musical performances, taking viewers on a magical adventure through the eyes of Belle,” the press release explained. It continues to say the special will feature new sets and costumes, it will be performed live before a studio audience.
While the original “Beauty and the Beast” animated film had its release on Nov. 22, 1991, this upcoming special marks the 30th anniversary of the movie being nominated for Best Picture at the Academy awards, which was a first for an animated film.