In what can only be described as a desperate marketing ploy on behalf of a doomed product, The White House’s recent Easter celebration saw the star of Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid remake, Halle Bailey, invited to read a pair of books – including a licensed tie-in title related to her film – to the event’s young attendees.
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An annual tradition which has taken place ever since President Rutherford B. Hayes hosted the first such event in 1878, the 2023 White House Egg Roll took place on May 10th and saw thousands of people descend upon the landmark’s South Lawn for a day filled with art exhibits, celebrity guests, and of course, egg rolling.
One such guest was Bailey, who, as per an official press release sent to the media by Disney, “served as a guest reader and read two books: The Little Mermaid: Make a Splash by Ashley Franklin and Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry.”
The former title is a licensed tie-in book retelling part of the story of The Little Mermaid’s live-action remake while the latter, a companion book to the short film of the same name, is “an ode to loving your natural hair” which sees a Black father help his daughter style her curls.
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While the base charity of Bailey reading to children is an act to be commended, it unfortunately appears – especially for the actress herself, for whom the invitation to the Egg Roll was likely an immensely exciting opportunity – that her appearance at The White House was seen by Disney as nothing more than as yet-another-venue through which to market their upcoming remake to potential audiences.
For example, in Disney’s aforementioned press release, the House of Mouse dedicates eight of its ten total sentences to promoting The Little Mermaid but only two to Bailey’s guest reading- one of which is just a simple description of the day’s events and neither of which featured even one direct quote from the actress about her thoughts on her appearance.
Further, whereas most reports describe celebrity guest readers as typically reading only one book aloud – often, if available, their own children’s works – Bailey is described as having reading two.
With Hair Love ostensibly Bailey’s personal pick to read aloud and the other being connected to The Little Mermaid, it seems Disney made a push, whether to the actress or the event’s organizer, to allow her extra story time in service of promoting the film.
This cynical reading of the day’s events is lent even more credence by the fact that recent weeks have seen The White House seemingly take a turn towards acting as a marketing agent for giant media corporations.
During the White House’s daily press briefing on March 21st, the Biden administration bizarrely invited the cast of the Apple+ series Ted Lasso on stage to speak to the public on the general importance of mental health.
Given that none of the cast members in attendance had a relevant connection to either that day’s political affairs or the topic they were discussing, this ‘cameo’ appearance ultimately appears to be nothing more than a White House-sponsored ad for the popular show.
The Little Mermaid is set to make land on May 26th.
NEXT: Disney’s Live-Action ‘The Little Mermaid’ Star Halle Bailey Says Remake Is “Updating” Story’s Themes: “We’ve Definitely Changed That Perspective Of Just Her Wanting To Leave The Ocean For A Boy”