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A Fresh Wave: Taye Diggs, Amber Riley, and Mykal Michelle-Harris Reimagine ‘The Little Mermaid’ in Disney Junior’s ‘Ariel’

Taye Diggs, Amber Riley, and Mykal Michelle-Harris bring a new and diverse perspective to the classic story of ‘The Little Mermaid’ in Disney Junior’s ‘Ariel.’ The series celebrates representation and delivers valuable life lessons through vibrant characters and fresh storytelling.

It has been almost 35 years since Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” enchanted audiences with its underwater adventures and memorable characters. Now, Disney Junior’s “Ariel” is set to reimagine the beloved classic with a fresh perspective, celebrating diversity and community. This new series features the talents of Taye Diggs, Amber Riley, and 12-year-old rising star Mykal Michelle-Harris, who together breathe new life into the iconic story.

Taye Diggs, a longtime Disney fan, steps into the role of King Triton, Ariel’s protective father. His portrayal adds a nuanced depth to the character, highlighting the importance of leadership and family bonds. Meanwhile, Mykal Michelle-Harris takes on the titular role of Ariel, following in the footsteps of Hailey Bailey, who played Ariel in the 2023 live-action adaptation. Amber Riley brings her powerhouse talent to the role of Ursula, infusing the character with a fresh and dynamic energy.

Michelle-Harris is both excited and honored to play Ariel, acknowledging the legacy of those who have portrayed the character before her. “It does come with some pressure because there have already been some incredible people who have played, voiced, or portrayed Ariel,” she shares. “Although I went in thinking ‘I’m aligned with these people,’ it’s ultimately a really incredible, iconic character to be able to bring to life and put my own spin on.”

In this reimagined series, Ariel and her friends explore the wonders of the sea while learning important life lessons. Michelle-Harris emphasizes that Ariel serves as a role model and teacher, encouraging young viewers to be confident in who they are. “Ariel is a teacher who teaches these kids they can be confident in who they are,” she explains.

Taye Diggs reflects on the significance of representation in this production, noting that it honors Black and brown voices in a meaningful way. “Disney is not afraid to change and move with the times and I’m proud of it,” he says. The inclusion of diverse characters and stories in “Ariel” is a testament to Disney’s commitment to evolving and embracing a broader range of experiences and perspectives.

The series not only entertains but also imparts wisdom-filled lessons that resonate with viewers of all ages. Diggs and Michelle-Harris express their pride in being part of a project that threads representation and impactful storytelling, making “Ariel” a must-watch for both young fans and those who have cherished the original story for decades.

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