Grammy and Academy Award-winning singer-songwriter H.E.R has been tapped to play beloved Disney Princess Belle in ABC’s upcoming animated and live-action blended special, Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration, executive produced by Jon M. Chu and directed by Hamish Hamilton.

The R&B star will lead audiences through the world of Belle with never-before-seen live musical performances paying homage to the timeless tale as well as new sets and costumes inspired by the classic story.

H.E.R.’s casting marks the first time an Afro Filipina woman will play the role of Belle on screen.

“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!” said H.E.R. “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.”

Presented by The Wonderful World of Disney, the two-hour Beauty and the Beast reimagining will be taped in front of a live audience at Disney Studios. It will air Dec. 15 on ABC and be available on Disney+ the next day.

“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,” Chu 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.”

Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration is produced by Done+Dusted in association with Walt Disney Television Alternative and Electric Somewhere. Executive producers are Chu, Caitlin Foito, Hamilton, Raj Kapoor, Richard Kraft and Katy Mullan. Hamish Hamilton will serve as director. H.E.R. serves as a producer.

This year, 2022, marks the 30th anniversary of when Disney Animation’s Beauty and the Beast became the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The film went on to win the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, while the theme song “Beauty and the Beast” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1992.

In just under four years, H.E.R. has earned 20 Grammy Award nominations and four wins, plus an Academy Award for her song “Fight For You,” from Judas and the Black Messiah. Next year, she will make her acting debut in the Warner Bros. adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical The Color Purple. H.E.R. released her debut album, “Back of My Mind,” in June 2021 and won the Song of the Year Grammy Award for “I Can’t Breathe.” To date, H.E.R. has amassed nearly 6 billion combined audio and streams worldwide.

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