H.E.R. to play Belle in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ anniversary special
H.E.R. to play Belle in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ anniversary special 

H.E.R's Instagram

'You're looking at the first Black and Filipino Belle,' says the singer

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino-American singer H.E.R. has been cast as Belle in ABC’s Beauty and the Beast hybrid special. 

According to a Variety report, the special is in celebration of the animated film’s 30th anniversary and will feature live never-before-seen musical performances and brand-new sets and costumes drawing inspiration from the classic love story. 

The report added that songs from the original animated classic will be performed in front of a live audience at Disney studios. However, the ABC special, which will air on December 15, will not be shot live. Hamish Hamilton will direct while Jon M. Chu will executive-produce. 

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

Following the announcement, the five-time Grammy winner took to Instagram to express her excitement for the project, sharing a video of her lip-synching to a track from the film. 

“Practicing my Disney princess in Nice. You’re looking at the first Black and Filipino Belle…. I’ve always wanted to be a Disney princess,” she wrote. 

H.E.R won Song of the Year at the 2021 Grammy Awards for her song “I Can’t Breathe” from her debut album Back of My Mind. She also won an Oscar for her song “Fight For You” from the film Judas and the Black Messiah. The 25-year-old singer is set to make her acting debut in Warner Bros’ upcoming film 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, according to the Variety report. 

Beauty and the Beast was released in 1991 and received critical acclaim. In 1992, it became the first animated film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, and ultimately won two Oscars – Best Original Score and Best Original Song. 

A live-action movie adaptation, starring Emma Watson as Belle, was released in 2017. – 

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