'Black, Filipino Belle': H.E.R. to star in 'Beauty and the Beast' 30th anniversary special

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
'Black, Filipino Belle': H.E.R. to star in 'Beauty and the Beast' 30th anniversary special
Composite image of H.E.R. at the 94th Academy Awards and a scene from "Beauty and the Beast"
AFP / Angela Weiss, Disney

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino-American R&B singer H.E.R. has been tapped to play Belle in the upcoming animated and live-action hybrid 30th anniversary special of the Disney classic "Beauty and the Beast."

This will make the muti-awarded artist the first Afro Filipina to portray a Disney princess; legendary actress Lea Salonga was only the singing voices for Jasmine and Mulan for their respective films.

“I can’t believe I get to be a part of the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ legacy,” H.E.R. said about her casting. “The world will see a Black and Filipino Belle! I have always wanted to be a Disney princess."

The special will feature never-before-seen musical performances, brand new costumes and set designs all inspired from the original French fairytale.

H.E.R. and other co-stars will be performing songs from the 1991 animated film in front of a live audience at Disney Studios.

Related: Live-action/animated hybrid 'Beauty and the Beast' special set for 30th anniversary

An ongoing unofficial poll by Billboard are asking Internet users who should star opposite H.E.R., with suggestions such as current frontrunner Harry Styles, as well as Shawn Mendes, Nick Jonas, Zayn Malik, The Weeknd, Anderson .Paak, and RM from BTS.

Jon M. Chu, director of "Crazy Rich Asians" and "In The Heights," serves as one of the special's executive producers alongside director Hamish Hamilton and H.E.R.

“With her obvious extraordinary talent and stage presence, H.E.R. is the perfect embodiment of our Belle, and we are thrilled for our audiences to see her in this celebration of creativity,” Chu said.

"Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration" will air on December 15 on ABC in the United States, and will be available for streaming on Disney+ the following day.

RELATED: Filipino-Americans Olivia Rodrigo, Bruno Mars, H.E.R. win early Grammy Awards 2022

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