Beauty and the Beast to star H.E.R. in lead role

Disney continues to color classic characters Black and brown, and now plans to release a Beauty and the Beast special starring H.E.R. in the title role of Belle.

H.E.R. is a five-time Grammy winner, including a win for song of the year for “I Can’t Breathe” in 2021 from her debut album “Back of My Mind.”  She is also an Academy Award winner for her song “Fight For You” from the critically-acclaimed film Judas and the Black Messiah.

Disney announced earlier in the summer that the 30th anniversary special of the children’s classic Beauty and the Beast would air on ABC on Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. EST. Songs from the original animated movie will be performed live in front of an audience at Disney Studios during the screening of the film.

“I can’t believe I get to be a part of the Beauty and the Beast legacy,” H.E.R. said. “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.”

 H.E.R. will also make her feature acting debut in the Warner Bros. adaptation of The Color Purple.

“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,” said Chu. “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.”

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