Yara Shahidi Addresses Racist Black Tinker Bell Backlash

Yara Shahidi Addresses Racist Black Tinker Bell Backlash

Yara Shahidi has a message for the racists criticizing her latest role.

Earlier this month, Disney+ released the first teaser trailer for Peter Pan & Wendy, its upcoming live-action remake of the 1953 animated original, which features the Black-ish star as Tinker Bell. However, the reveal was met with some backlash from racists that were upset by the idea of a Black actress playing the beloved pixie sidekick, who also previously derided Disney for casting Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid.

Now though, Shahidi has addressed the situation in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, where she echoed Bailey's previous response about not paying attention to the negativity.

"What’s been beautiful is seeing the response to both of our characters and seeing how many people feel included in this fairy tale, while also maintaining the magic that we love in the first place," the actress said, prior to chalking up the racist hate to fear.

"I think oftentimes people think of diversity and inclusion as threatening or jeopardizing the quality of the story, instead of seeing how beautifully they can be interwoven together," Shahidi continued, adding that it leads to the creation of "something that impacts even more people."

She said, "[It] lets even more people into stories that we love."

That said, racists weren't the only ones who criticized Shahidi's casting after the trailer's release. In fact, there were also a significant number of Black commenters calling it Disney's "lazy" attempt at on-screen representation, with one person writing, "The reason studios make beloved characters black in the live action adaptations is so they don’t have to go to the trouble of actually giving special, brand new unique characters made from scratch to Black people."

Shahidi has yet to address the latter issue. However, you can still read everything she said about the racist backlash in The Hollywood Reporter here.

Photo via Getty / Michael Tullberg / FilmMagic