A Sandy Springs mother raised thousands of dollars in donations to host young girls of color in a private screening of “The Little Mermaid” at Sandy Springs Cinema and Tap House.
Le’Dor Milteer says the Sunday screening of the latest remake of the Disney classic is an opportunity for young girls to see a reflection of themselves through a Black actress portraying an iconic role.
“The Little Mermaid,” starring 23-year-old Halle Bailey, is expected to gross over $120 Million during Memorial Day weekend, according to such publications as Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
“There is an undeniable need for this,” Milteer said of the screening, “Representation matters and this film is an inspiration. My 7-year-old daughter wants to be a doctor all because of the Disney cartoon, “Doc McStuffins,” about a young Black doctor who can fix toys with the help of her friends.”
Milteer said that in renting out the 132-seat theater, she raised more than $4,000 in donations from parents and Sandy Springs leaders who purchased tickets in advance and sponsored other families.
Trader Joes, Nothing Bundt Cakes, nonprofits Sandy Springs Together, the Most Valuable Kids of Greater Atlanta and Goldfish Swim School are among the businesses and organizations who made monetary or in-kind donations such as goody bag items, Milter added.
Sandy Springs Councilwoman Melody Kelley and Fulton County Schools board member Dr. Michelle Morancie are scheduled to attend the Sunday screening.
“I really do see this event as an opportunity to link symbolism with substance and to actually show these families the people who tangibly represent them in places of power,” Kelley said.
The sold-out screening takes place at 4:30 p.m. and will include an appearance by a professional mermaid. Events before and after the film also include speakers such as Carrington Manous, who is Miss Greater Atlanta Teen 2023, as well as a dancing performance by Healthy Youth USA Foundation.
Carrington, 14, said Bailey playing the lead role of Ariel inspired her.
“It really makes me feel like if I wanted to be in a movie with a lead role that is normally a white person, I can set my mind to doing that as well,” she said.
Her mother, Shuante Dial, said she believes “The Little Mermaid” remake is a milestone moment even for older generations.
“This is a movie that my nieces grew up on, my daughter watched it forever,” Dial said. “To see someone playing such an important role in the lives of children, and for that to be a representation of what they look like is amazing.
“The world is truly a rainbow of everyone and this moment is bigger than the film. It’s really about creating a space where everyone feels included.”