HomeSouth Asian AmericanFirst person of color set to play Tinker Bell

First person of color set to play Tinker Bell

Yara Shahidi to play Tinker Bell via Flickr Creative Commons by GabboT

All Yara Shahidi needs is a little bit of pixie dust. 

The 20 year-old actress will be portraying Tinker Bell in Disney’s upcoming live-action Peter Pan film,  Peter Pan & Wendy, The Independent reports. Shahidi is the first person of color to play the role, and the announcement was met with great support. 

“Thank you for all the love. It, truly, means so much to me,” Shahidi said in an Instagram post, according to The Independent. “I’m excited for this next adventure!” 

Shahidi joins a cast featuring Jude Law (Captain Hook), Alexander Molony (Peter) and Ever Anderson (Wendy), according to Deadline. The film will be directed by David Lowery. 

“In recent years, Disney has been open to any actor playing a role that originally was limited to Caucasian talent, making waves after setting [Halle] Bailey to play the mermaid Ariel,” Deadline reports, “With Tinker Bell, the studio and Lowery wanted to do the same from the get-go and quickly pursued Shahidi, whose star has been on the rise for some time.”

Born in Minnesota to an African American mother and Iranian father, Shahidi got her big break playing Zoey Johnson on Black-ish, a role that was so successful that Shahidi starred in a spin-off called Grown-ish. Both shows were celebrated for addressing ‘race, culture, and socio-economic issues,’ Harper’s Bazaar Arabia reports. 

“I have a very strong family unit who consistently remind me of the fact that I am supposed to be in every room that I’m in,” Shahidi said, according to Harper’s Bazaar. 

Beyond her acting strides, Shahidi is also a political activist, Harper’s Bazaar reports. Her Yara Eighteen x 18 initiative encourages young people to vote. 

“Your future is so bright it burns my eyes,” Oprah said in an interview with Shahidi. 

“I hope I’m still around when [Shahidi] becomes President of the United States – and that is going to happen – if she wants it to,” Oprah said in another interview, according to Harper’s Bazaar. 

Peter Pan and Wendy is set to be released in theaters, rather than streamed via Disney +, Deadline reports. 

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