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The Lion King Premiere

Source: Adriana M. Barraza/ / WENN

Donald Glover knows a thing or two about bringing a beloved classic character back to life as he’s currently starring as Simba in Disney’s The Lion King reboot. With Halle Bailey‘s recent announcement that she’ll be playing Ariel in the upcoming The Little Mermaid reboot, Glover offered some warm words of encouragement to the young star. reports:

Last week, debates were sparked online after it was announced that the singer of R&B duo Chloe x Halle, a black woman, will play Ariel. Critics maintain that the character should be white and red-headed like the 1989 animated character. Others accuse naysayers of simply being racist.

Donald weighed in on Halle’s casting in The Little Mermaid in an interview with E! News’ Zuri Hall.

“I thought that was so special,” the actor said on Tuesday at the premiere of Disney’s live-action reboot of The Lion King, in which he portrays adult Simba. “We were just watching that film and I’m like, that’s such a great story but I’m just like, I dunno, I just hope that she’s like having fun and don’t let anybody make you feel the opposite of how you want to feel. It’s a very special role and you earned it, so I hope you’re listening.”

Check out the sweet message below.

Photo: WENN