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Activist Taylor Richardson Is Raising Funds for 1,000 Black Girls To See ‘The Little Mermaid’

Making a splash!

Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney's live-action 'The Little Mermaid'

The Little Mermaid is one of the most hotly-anticipated movies of the year, with the Disney live-action remake featuring the incredibly talented Halle Bailey as the titular mermaid.

The casting has been a significant step forward in representation, with millions of young Black girls across the globe delighted at seeing themselves represented via a Disney princess with brown skin and long locs. And activist Taylor Richardson, who also goes by the moniker Astronaut Starbright, is determined for the movie to be a major cinematic event for the young Black female community, who have severely missed out on seeing themselves portrayed positively onscreen.

Taylor, who advocates tirelessly to bring more girls of color to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, has started a GoFundMe page to bring 1,000 Black girls together to see The Little Mermaid when it hits cinemas on 26 May.

This isn’t 19-year-old Taylor’s first time bringing girls of color together for a screening, as she explained on her fundraising page. “Hi, my name is Taylor Richardson. Some know me as Astronaut StarBright advocating to bring more girls, especially girls of color to STEM,” she wrote. “Many others know me for my movie screening challenges like Hidden Figures and A Wrinkle in Time, that brought hundreds of thousands of youth and their families across the world to see black women and Black girls represented in STEM and girl-empowered themes.

“I have always believed if you can see it you can be it. This is why I am raising funds for 1,000 Black girls to see the upcoming Disney film The Little Mermaid, that will have its first Black mermaid princess Ariel, played by Halle Bailey. The goal is simple, to allow Black girls to see themselves and to know that we too can and will be part of that world! So I hope you will join me and donate to my campaign. Better yet, start your own #littlemermaidchallenge at a theater in your community! Let’s bring Black girl magic across the world come May 26, 2023!”

Her fundraising campaign has already seen major donations, with actress Melissa McCarthy donating $6,000, Yvette Nicole Brown donating $1,000, and Nathalie Emmanuel donating $500. Her goal is to raise $20,000, and with the movie release still a while away in May, I’m sure she’ll reach and surpass the target.

As she mentioned in her fundraising bio, Taylor raised a whopping $18,000 to send girls in her hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, to see the real life-inspired movie Hidden Figures in 2016. Two years later, she raised $50,000 to send 1,000 students to see the film A Wrinkle in Time, with talk show icon Oprah Winfrey matching her fundraising and bringing the total to $100,000.

Taylor’s impressive efforts have also inspired others, who have started their own fundraising campaigns to bring children to see themselves represented on the big screen in The Little Mermaid.

While there have been such incredible efforts to celebrate the movie ahead of time, Bailey’s casting in the upcoming movie, unfortunately, also prompted a widespread racist backlash. The 22-year-old expertly responded to the ignorance, stating in one of her YouTube videos, “The fact that it’s sparking such a discussion for all of us … I mean, I know what it would’ve meant to me as a little girl to have been able to see a Black Ariel.

“When I was younger, if I would’ve seen that, it would have changed my whole outlook on life, so the fact that I’m kind of getting to do that is really cool and unbelievable to me, and the little girl inside of me is screaming and freaking out.”

(featured image: Disney)

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