ABC Casts its Belle for ‘Beauty & the Beast’ Special

Disney has a new Princess Belle — for one special program, at least.

Disney has a new Princess Belle — for one special program, at least. It’s H.E.R.

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R&B singer/songwriter H.E.R. will play Princess Belle in Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration, a new celebration of the Disney classic that will air December 15 and then stream on Disney+ starting December 16, Rolling Stone reports.

The special, which Jon M. Chu (director of Wicked and In the Heights) is executive producing, will reportedly mix animated and live-action footage taped in front of a studio audience. Hamish Hamilton, who previously directed concert films by U2, Beyoncé and other major musical artists (aside from H.E.R.), is sitting in the director’s chair for the anniversary project.

Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration will also blend classic scenes from the timeless fairy tale with newly crafted live performances — so Hamish Hamilton’s skills will come in extra handy. The program will also feature new sets and costumes, according to Rolling Stone.

An Even Bigger Break For H.E.R.?

“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!” H.E.R. reportedly said in a statement. “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 Wonderful World of Disney, the current title of the Disney anthology TV series, will present Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration. The program will run for two hours.

H.E.R. is an accolades machine. She scooped up five Grammy Awards nominations for her first compilation album, a self-titled release that came out in 2017, and won for Best R&B Performance (“Best Part”) and Best R&B Album.

H.E.R.’s second compilation, 2019’s I Used to Know Her, also earned five Grammy Award nominations. She won Song of the Year for “I Can’t Breathe” in 2021 and Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Fight for You” the following year.

In addition to the Grammy win, “Fight for You” also earned H.E.R. the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2021. The tune appeared in the movie Judas and the Black Messiah.

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