Taye Diggs, Disney Jr.

Taye Diggs Introduces A Whole New World In Diverse Animated Series ‘Disney Jr.’s Ariel’

'Disney Jr.’s Ariel' is an animated musical series that draws inspiration from 'The Little Mermaid.'

Taye Diggs and Amber Riley are among the voices bringing the enchanting underwater world of Atlantica to life for Disney Jr. viewers.

Disney Jr.’s Ariel is an animated musical series inspired by The Little Mermaid. It will premiere on June 27 on Disney Jr. and on Disney+ the next day. The new show is a delightful animated musical experience tailored for young viewers.

For the first time, kids get to see a child version of the young mermaid princess Ariel (played by Mykal-Michelle Harris) as she navigates her underwater life with her friends in the vibrant, Caribbean-inspired kingdom of Atlantica. Aimed at preschoolers and families, each episode presents two 11-minute stories that explore themes of community, self-expression, curiosity, and resourcefulness.

Following Halle Bailey’s portrayal of the popular Disney princess in 2023’s reimagined live-action film The Little Mermaid, the series celebrates Caribbean culture through its music, cuisine, festivals, fashion, language, and folklore.

BLACK ENTERPRISE sat down with some of the cast, including Diggs, who takes on the role of King Triton; Harris, who plays the youngest version of Ariel fans have ever seen; and the show’s executive producer, Lynne Southerland. Riley, who was unable to join our discussion, will debut a new, friendlier version of the sea witch Ursula.

Harris, 12, is thrilled to be part of the Disney princess team voicing a unique version of Ariel.

“I am so, so excited to take on the role of Ariel. Of course, it does come with a little bit of pressure as Ariel has been voiced by so many other incredible people that I have to be up there with them,” the “mixed-ish” alum tells BE.

“But I also like to put my own spin on things. Because this is not the Ariel that we all know. This is an eight-year-old version of Ariel. And we have never seen her this young before. So I really had a fun time kind of researching the character and understanding what she would do if she were eight years old and how she would sound.”

Diggs is no stranger to voice acting, as he’s voiced roles in animated kids shows and movies like My Little Pony: The Movie, Doc McStuffins, and the Black Panther T’Challa in The Super Hero Squad Show. But being a part of a diverse cast like Disney Jr.’s Ariel reminds the veteran actor how far we’ve come with inclusion in mainstream arts and entertainment.

“I feel like these days are very quick to say that these are really hard times. But when I took this gig, it lifted me up on so many levels and it proved to me that regardless of what it feels like, as a unit we are moving forward,” Diggs shared.

“If you would have told me 10 years ago that I’d be a part of a project that took a stable fairy tale, completely switched up the casting, and then made it into a TV show, switched up the casting again, and made it even more relatable to human beings, I would have been like, ‘Uh-uh, that will never happen.’ And here I am right now doing it, so it’s a great gig. I feel honored. But on a larger scale, it proves to me that we are moving in the right direction.”

Catch Disney Jr.’s Ariel when it premieres June 27, 2024, on Disney Jr. and June 28, 2024, on Disney+. Press play below for full interviews with the cast and crew.

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