Never mind all the bluster about Halle Bailey‘s starring role as The Little Mermaid. The real first Black Disney princess was Brandy. Back in 1997, the R&B icon starred in a made-for-TV production of Cinderella as the titular orphan alongside Whitney Houston as her fairy godmother. For years, Rodgers And Hammerstein’s Cinderella was consigned to the VHS collections of ’90s kids until making its debut on Disney+ in 2021.
The clip features the R&B legend — who originally graced the screen as the iconic princess in the 1997 TV movie Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella — wearing a regal, voluminous gown of baby blue and matching overcoat with her hair in a long, blue braid. She even reunites with her co-star Paolo Montalban, who’s now graduated from Prince to King Charming.
Brandy’s casting was first revealed back in November when the project was announced as a Descendants spin-off titled The Pocketwatch. At the time, the movie musical was purportedly centered around Red, the daughter of the Queen of Hearts, and Chloe, the daughter of Cinderella and Charming — but there’s no word yet on whether any plot points may have changed along with the new title.
The artist known as the Vocal Bible last returned to her Disney princess roots in summer 2022 for the original film’s 25th-anniversary reunion special, which also featured interviews with Montalban, Whoopi Goldberg, Victor Garber, Bernadette Peters, Jason Alexander and more. “I remember like it was yesterday,” she said of working with the late Whitney Houston on the beloved movie.
She also performed a medley of Cinderella tracks such as “The Sweetest Sound,” “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible,” “A Lovely Night” and “Ten Minutes Ago” for one of Todrick Hall’s viral videos during the pandemic.
Get a first look at Brandy’s on-screen reunion with Montalban as Cinderella and King Charming below.
A royal occasion. ? King Charming (Paolo Montalban) and Cinderella (@4everbrandy) have joined the upcoming Original movie, Descendants: The Rise of Red! pic.twitter.com/0SA3XkOj2M
— Descendants (@descendants) March 22, 2023
First look at Brandy as Cinderella in Disney’s ‘DESCENDANTS: RISE OF RED’. pic.twitter.com/0naFgRfwJz
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) March 22, 2023