Yara Shahidi says there's 'something really powerful about having a Black Tinker Bell'

Yara Shahidi has discussed the importance of her role as the first Black actor to portray Tinker Bell in Disney's latest film, Peter Pan & Wendy.
On April 28, Disney+ premiered a live-action version of the classic animated tale, starring Alexander Moloney and Ever Gabo Anderson as the titular characters.

The film follows the story of Wendy Darling, a young girl who meets Peter Pan, a boy who refuses to grow up, and travels with him and Tinker Bell to the enchanting land of Neverland. Together, they face the treacherous Captain Hook and embark on a perilous adventure that alters Wendy's life forever, as stated in the official synopsis.

Last year, Yara Shahidi, the 23-year-old star of Black-ish and Grown-ish, was announced as the actress playing Tinker Bell in the new Peter Pan & Wendy film.

Social media had mixed reactions to this news, but Shahidi shares with People magazine that she is ignoring any negativity and focusing on the positive impact her role can have on young Black children.

As an actor, she found it refreshing to take on a role that was pure fantasy, and it reminded her of how much she enjoys the creativity of her job.

Shahidi questioned what the remake would achieve beyond changing the ethnicity of the characters, and she was pleased to discover that the entire Disney team was dedicated to telling a story that reflects our current era.

The actress from The Sun Is Also a Star expressed to the publication that portraying Tinker Bell was not only meaningful but also a lot of fun.

Shahidi said that her take on Tinker Bell honors the classic qualities that people love about the character, such as her lively and animated nature. Shahidi recounted how she had to practice numerous facial expressions to capture the essence of the character, who is almost voiceless.

She also shared that it was "cool" to film her scenes in isolation from the rest of the cast.

Unlike sets such as Grown-ish, which have numerous elements such as stairs, rooms, and beds, the Tinker Bell set in Burbank was basic.

Shahidi had to use her imagination to create an immersive experience and bring the world around her to life.
The actress noted that the role of Tinker Bell was appealing because it allowed her to exercise her imagination and creativity.

As Black and Brown actors, they are frequently confined to serious film roles, and there can be a sense of obligation to make a statement with every performance.

However, Shahidi found the experience of playing Tinker Bell to be freeing and enjoyable. The live-action movie, Peter Pan & Wendy, is now available on Disney+.

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