Raya And The Last Dragon: Kelly Marie Tran's Disney Welcome Made Us Ugly Cry
Kelly Marie Tran, Disney's first Southeast Asian princess, has officially made her debut in Raya and the Last Dragon. Ordinarily, this would've been celebrated with great fanfare at a red carpet premiere, but the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench in the works. Instead, Disney held a virtual red carpet event for Raya and the Last Dragon in conjunction with the highly anticipated film’s premiere—and it was just as magical.
The event featured some of the cast and creators behind the film such as Ross Butler, Adele Lim, Sandra Oh, Awkwafina, Benedict Wong, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Isaac Wang, and Thalia Tran. In honouring her Southeast Asian heritage, Tran wore a stunning, custom-made black áo dài (traditional Vietnamese dress) and a matching khăn đống (headpiece) with intricate gold beaded embroidery which left a deep impression and warmed our hearts.
Also 'present' at the remote Raya and the Last Dragon event were special guests and familiar voices we all know and love including Disney princesses Anika Noni Rose (The Princess and The Frog's Tiana), Paige O'Hara (Beauty and the Beast's Belle), Ming-Na Wen (Mulan), and Jodi Benson (The Little Mermaid's Ariel). Along with Ginnifer Goodwin (Zootopia's Judy Hopps) and Jonathan Groff (Frozen's Kristoff), they warmly welcomed Tran to the 'greatest family on Earth' through pre-recorded video messages.
"The year you were born was the year I started recording Beauty and the Beast," O'Hara said. "So, I want you to prepare yourself for a very, very long but a very, very happy ride filled with wonderful experiences and thousands of children dressing up to look just. Like. YOU!"
Perhaps the most symbolic moment was when celebrated Mulan actress Wen said, from one Asian princess warrior to another: "I am so happy and excited that there is another princess warrior in the mix. Keep representing. Yes! We can always use more heroes."
We're not crying, you're crying.
The event concluded with Tran introducing the debut of the music video for Lead the Way, the end credits song written and performed by singer-songwriter Jhené Aiko.
Raya and the Last Dragon is out now in cinemas.