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Songstress H.E.R. is taking her passion for the arts into the realm of acting. According to Deadline, the musician—née Gabriella Wilson—will star in the animated live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.

The ABC project, dubbed Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration, is a re-envisioned rendition of the classic Disney film that made its debut in 1991. Wilson will portray Belle, becoming the first Afro Filipina woman to take on the on-screen role. The We Made It singer, who is also on the production team, hopes her involvement in the project exemplifies the importance of representation.

“I can’t believe I get to be a part of the Beauty and the Beast legacy. The world will see a Black and Filipino Belle!” she shared in a statement, according to the news outlet. “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.”

The adaptation’s executive director Jon M. Chu added Wilson’s creativity and passion for storytelling made her the perfect fit for the role. “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,” he said. “We were both influenced as storytellers by the original animated movie, so it’s very exciting to collaborate together to honor the artistry of that timeless classic while also inspiring a whole new generation of creators.”

The two-hour special, which is being collaboratively created by Done+Dusted, Electric Somewhere and Walt Disney Television Alternative, is slated to air on December 15.

News about Wilson’s new role comes nearly a year after it was announced she’s joining the cast of The Color Purple’s movie musical adaptation which will be released next year.


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