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New Day Sunday

World Leaders Arriving In London For Queen Elizabeth's Funeral; Biden In London To Honor Queen Elizabeth, Attend State Funeral; Crews Hope Rail Will Aid In Battling Mosquito Fire; 6.9 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Southeastern Taiwan; Russian Shelling Kills Four Medics Near Kharkiv; Putin Concedes China Has 'Concerns' On Ukraine In Xi meeting; Lancet Commission On COVID-19 Response: "Massive Global Failure"; Little Mermaid's Racist Critics Pollute Magical Undersea World With Bigotry. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired September 18, 2022 - 07:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: The next hour of NEW DAY right now.


AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good and happy morning to all. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Sunday, September 18th. I'm Amara Walker.

SANCHEZ: Good morning, Amara. I'm Boris Sanchez. Thank you so much for starting your week with us. We appreciate having you.

Up first, honoring a Queen. Dozens of world leaders are converging on London to pay tribute to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II on the eve of her state funeral.

WALKER: President Biden arrived late last night. He and the first lady will pay their respects today and attend a reception for visiting leaders hosted by King Charles III.

SANCHEZ: Prince William, Prince Harry, and the Queen's other grandchildren, stood vigil around their grandmother's coffin in Westminster Hall. It was a somber tribute yesterday, followed by a similar vigil by King Charles and his siblings on Friday.

WALKER: In the meantime, the crowds are continuing to wait in line to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth. The wait time is at least, at least 14 hours. And this just into CNN, officials in London are now asking people to not come and join this line to avoid, quote, disappointment.

This is the final day the Queen will line stay before her funeral, and people have come from near and far to pay their respects.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're Canadian and the Queen was also the state head of state in Canada. And we're here to pay respects after 70 years of service.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had that moment. Yeah, just to say that you are there. Just to do together, it's an experience.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've all come. None of us know each other. So, we've all come by ourself to have a fantastic night. Yeah, it's been great.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Yeah, my mom went to Diana's when she was young, so she wanted us to feel the experience.


WALKER: Well, from the crowds waiting 14 hours to view the Queen's coffin and it will be 500 world leaders and foreign dignitaries, including President Biden, in London for the Queen's funeral. Our reporters and correspondents have it all covered.

SANCHEZ: Nada Bashir is out among the crowd in London and Kaitlan Collins has the latest on President Biden's day ahead.

Nada, let's start with you. You have been with these folks in line since yesterday. Many of them waiting 14 hours. What is it like out there?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Yeah, absolutely, Boris. We've been here several nights in a row. I have to say, this remarkable to see just how many people have been queuing up. Many overnight in the cold for their chance to pay their respects to the Queen.

As you heard there, they've had to pause the queue. That's happened several times already because the end point, which is a park just a way down the river, has reached capacity, which means that people aren't able to join the queue anymore. Of course, in addition to people joining the queue to pay their respects, we are also seeing quite a few people now pitching up tents, gathering around Westminster and parliament for chance to get a viewing of the funeral procession, which is said to take place tomorrow.

That will be quite the ceremony. We saw many people already waiting there for that ceremony. We've spoken to two individuals that have the opportunity now to pay their respects to the Queen. One of the very few, of course, because that will end around 6:30 am tomorrow morning.

And we're joined now by Martin and Tracy. They traveled into London actually for this opportunity.

What was it like queuing overnight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was quite emotional, but very uplifting as well, I think. It was nice to be amongst all the people who are here for the same purposes less. It was very friendly atmosphere. You made friends along the way, so definitely something that was well worth doing.

BASHIR: You two met in the queue, of course?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we did. We met in the queue. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a wonderful team environment. There's actually

three of us originally in the queue, just what we were walking around, getting chatting to people around us. It's such a nice, communal experience.

BASHIR: At this point, 14 hours. Why was it so important for you to be part of this moment?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's a once in a lifetime experience. Doesn't happen very often. My entire life, the Queen has been the monarch. And I think everyone in the queue had their own reasons. I felt that I was a representing my family, my father's in the military, served for many years.

It was a wonderful opportunity to get involved. It is something that is quite personal to the royal family, but she's part of all of us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Part of history as well. I mean, I was there for some of the same reasons to represent my family. And also, I came up to the jubilee earlier in the year, and such an amazing thing to do, to know that you're part of that piece of history. Now, it seems like the right thing to do. We'll never have another Queen in our lifetime. It just had to be done. It was one of those things that fundamentally we just had to do.

BASHIR: Thank you.

And, really, that is the sense for people up and down this queue. Many gathering. Here is a moment in history they didn't want to miss. Many coming with very small children. Something they want to share with their families. And, of course, as you mentioned there, it's not just members of the public gathering here in London, we are seeing hundreds of foreign dignitaries that have descended on the Capitol over the weekend in preparation for the Queen's funeral to take place on Monday.

WALKER: They're still breathtaking images. Nada, thank you.

And to Kaitlan Collins now who is traveling with the president in London.

This really is a meaningful trip for the president, right, because I remember him comparing, after meeting the Queen, comparing the Queen to his mother.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. You know, he's not the only president who has done that, either. Another U.S. president say that after they met with the Queen privately, she reminded them of their mothers, their grandmothers.

And that seems to be a common theme that they've all had. You saw how they were paying tribute to her after she passed. Now, President Biden is here to do so in person. You saw him arrive overnight in London to do so. His first activity of the day, it's got to be doing what a lot of

those people who are waiting in line that I was talking to are waiting to do, which is see the Queen lying in state at Westminster Hall. That's going to be something that President Biden is doing, obviously, not having to wait for 14 hours, given security protocols. But that's going to be what he and First Lady Jill Biden will be making their first stop, which is paying their respects to the Queen as she is lying in state there.

And then they'll go on to sign a condolence book, before going into that reception that King Charles is hosting tonight. And that will be the first time that President Biden is seeing King Charles in person since, of course, he has a taken over. They had a conversation this week which is pretty rare for U.S. president to speak on the phone to a British monarch. But they spoke this week after the Queen had passed, and President Biden pay tribute to her, talked about her years of service and what he believed she meant. Not just in a kingdom, but to the world.

And so, that is going to be part of his visit here, honoring her. Of course, he will be one of the world leaders attending that final tomorrow. He is the only representative of the United States in addition to the First Lady Jill Biden, given, of course, their concerns over how many people can be invited. And so, that will be what is on the agenda for him.

He will not be meeting with the British prime minister, the new British prime minister, Liz Truss, while he is here. That is something 10 Downing Street suggested may happen. That's actually going to happen once he's back in New York at that United Nations summit that is happening later this week. But this will be a focus for President Biden, talking about the Queen, talking about her commitment to public service and what he took from that as well.

SANCHEZ: Some 30 world leaders, 500 dignitaries. It's truly going to be a global event. Kaitlan Collins, Nada Bashir, thank you so much.

WALKER: All right, for details now on what to expect leading up to tomorrow's state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II, let's bring in British broadcaster Bidisha Mamata.

Great to have you this morning.

We're not physically there. Give us the sense of the magnitude of this event because right now, the world has stopped and we're watching to see the state funeral taking place. What is a feeling in the air right now?

BIDISHA MAMATA, BRITISH BROADCASTER: There is a really strange atmosphere in central London because we have had those few days of the Queen lying in state and the legendary queue, which is now a tourist attraction in his own right, snaking where people are allowed to pile past in silence. But there is amazing sense of building tension and anticipation.

I think we all want to see that all day just less than 24 hours from now of choir music, ceremonials, speeches, tributes. It's, sorry to be crude, but the most star-studded party you could possibly imagine, united in grief and mourning.

So, it is very serious, but it's also so glitzy, and it's all right. And having all of those people gather together, focused on one thing, which is remembrance and honoring service, is an amazing moment. If you were the evil villain in a superhero movie and you wanted to take out the current 21st century world order, you would train your lasers and guns on Westminster Abbey tomorrow.

WALKER: You know, I mean, yes, this is going to be a massive security operation, right? We're talking about 500 rogue leaders and foreign dignitaries. That includes many kings and queens from 200 countries, 90 being presidents or prime ministers.


It's quite a logistical challenge though, not just in security. With so many high-profile dignitaries arriving, I'm sure many of them have had personal, private requests, specific requests. And I understand many of them have been turned, down even when it comes to translators and personal aides attending.

MAMATA: So, each person is so powerful in their own right that they will have their own security detail, their own delegation, their own preferred people. You can only fit so many people in Westminster Abbey, vast and beautiful though it is.

The planning for this hasn't taken six months or eight months. It has been in the works for years. I have no doubt that in the highest institutions in the world, there's actually brown paper folder setting out what is going to happen tomorrow. This has all been reversed. It's been rehearsing the middle of the night. For anyone who is hanging around Green Park and Buckingham palace a few nights ago, they would have seen some beautifully costumes and in uniformed pipers and musicians are doing their marching and trying to keep the tune because everything must go seamlessly tomorrow.

What's really out of thinking and just 24 hours time, we will be coming off the back of the end of the London part of the ceremony and the end of two minutes of silence. So, all of those rich, powerful, very, very highly honored, respected people, just bowing their heads in silence as a show of unity and humility.

WALKER: I do want to ask you this, because much was made of this invitation to the reception that is taking place tonight, which President Biden will be attending among other heads of state and dignitaries. The duke and duchess of Sussex, we're talking about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. So, they apparently received an invitation to that reception by mistake. Do we expect them to take part in this reception tonight?

MAMATA: I am very wary of that rumor because I do think there is a little bit of scurrilous gossip around Harry and Meghan, given that they have been part of the morning ceremonies. They've been clearly publicly part of the rest of the family over the last few days. I don't really anticipate them sitting at home, watching all of the coverage on TV or thinking, well, you know, the parties happening, but we're not here. I think we will be here. Whatever you and I have heard, I don't think an email accidentally went out and got recalled again five minutes later.

King Charles was very clear and that address that he made a few days ago that he was going to talk about Harry and Meghan and say that they were both very beloved. He made clear that there's still private family because this is still a lot of what a clear diplomatic event, it's also a momentous family occasion.

WALKER: Got it. Well, Bidisha Mamata, appreciate you joining us. Thank you very much.

And our coverage continues from London as the world mourns Queen Elizabeth II ahead of her state funeral tomorrow. That begins 5:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

SANCHEZ: Still ahead on NEW DAY, video that you have to see to believe. A military jet crashing after a freak accident. We'll show you the video and tell you what happened.

And more than 15,000 buildings at risk in a Mosquito Fire. Officials are hoping the weather will soon lend hand in putting it out. We'll have more details on that ahead.

And speaking of forecasts, tropical storm conditions, hitting Puerto Rico right now. Fiona is closing in. Where we're expecting the storm to go and the rest of your forecast after a quick break.



WALKER: So, we're getting a look at new video showing the moment over the skies of Texas that led to a plane crash. It is every pilots, and I should say passengers nightmare. Watch this.


WALKER: Yeah, frightening. The plane just goes straight down. That was a bird. You saw right, it four straight into the plane's engine. This video released from September of 2021. This was supposed to be a routine military training exercise near Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth.

SANCHEZ: Yeah. And it sounds like the pilot could immediately tell what is happening because they bleeped out some of what he says and the reaction of the bird going straight into the engine. What a -- what a freak incident. The two crew members in the jet ejected and were hospitalized. One of the pilots, sadly, was badly burned. His parachute got tangled into paralyze and was electrocuted.

Yeah, the plane crashed into a neighborhood there in Lake Worth. It didn't hit any homes. No one on the ground was hurt. We hope that both of those pilots are in a better state now.

So, California's Mosquito Wildfire has been burning for less than two weeks. It has already grown into the state's largest fire this year.

WALKER: The fire crews are hoping rain and the forecast will slow the fire's growth and spread.

CNN's Camila Bernal has more.


CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Firefighters are expecting to make significant progress thanks to the rain. That rain is forecasted between Sunday and Monday. They feel they have already made some progress and will be able to continue to do that over the next couple of days, because of the rain and because of the lower temperatures.


Unfortunately, this fire has already destroyed more than 70,000 acres. Their assessment teams that are out there trying to figure out how much structures have been destroyed. Thankfully, some evacuation orders are being lifted. That's why Cal Fire and local authorities are telling people to be very careful and pay tension to all of those evacuation orders because some people will likely be able to return to their homes.

Now, the other aspect of all of this is that big picture. What experts are saying is that the rain could slow the ongoing fire season. It will not put an end to it because temperatures are going to continue to rise, even later on in the week. Temperatures are predicted to be higher.

But they do believe this will sort of slow down what is going on in California at the moment. Experts do say we have to pay tension later on in September and October because there's always the possibility for more fires as California's going through this ongoing drought and everything is just so dry.

Camila Bernal, CNN, Los Angeles.


WALKER: All right. So, soon, tropical storm Fiona is expected to become a full hurricane, battering Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with strong winds and rain. Forecasters think potential flooding and mudslides could be life-threatening.

SANCHEZ: There's already hurricane warning in effect in Puerto Rico. It could sustain friends of at least 75 miles per hour.

Right now, both the island and the Virgin Islands are already seeing storm conditions.

CNN's Allison Chinchar joins us now live from the CNN Weather Center.

Alison, it's a slow-moving storm and it's dropping a lot of rain.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Already. I think that is one of the concerns. We have a lot of power outages. We already have rain coming down. There's a lot more to come.

Here's a look at what we. No tropical storm Fiona sustained winds right now, 65 miles per hour, gusting up to 75. Not moving all that fast, just about eight miles per hour. That's what's giving it a lot of time to dump a tremendous amount of rain, not only over Puerto Rico but the U.S. Virgin Islands. So, British Virgin Islands, eventually over areas of Hispaniola. That's where we forecast this storm to go over the next 24 hours.

It is expected to become a category one hurricane by this afternoon, before it would potentially make landfall over Puerto Rico. Here's some of those heavier rain bands already starting to slide in. You've got some pretty heavy rain right now across the U.S. Virgin Islands and the eastern portion of Puerto Rico.

Rainfall is going to be one of the biggest concerns with this, even on that northern half of the island where it's on the lower end of widespread 6 to 10 inches of rain, the southern half of the island, now you're talking about 10, 15, 20 inches of rain. The weather service is not ruling out 25 inches of rain and some extremely isolated spots. Areas along the northeastern cause of the Dominican Republic, also looking at 6 to 10 inches of rain there.

In addition to that, you also have the storm surge, 1 to 3 feet along the southern coast of Puerto Rico and the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic. From there, it will continue to strengthen before it makes its way towards Bermuda.

SANCHEZ: Allison Chinchar, thank you so much for tracking that for us.

The strongest storm in a decade is hitting Alaska, battering coastal areas and forcing hundreds of evacuations. Yesterday, water levels from Typhoon Merbok reach more than ten feet, causing significant flooding that lifted several homes off their foundations.

WALKER: Yeah, it looks like really strong winds.

As many as 450 people have been evacuated according to the states homeland security emergency management division.

Governor Mike Dunleavy has declared a disaster for impacted communities. He says no one has been killed as a result of the storm.

SANCHEZ: Looking further out into the Pacific, Taiwan's president has activated the island's central emergency operation center responding to a 6.9 magnitude earthquake that hit the southeast corner of Taiwan earlier today. So far, rescue personnel and over 100 soldiers have been deployed in response.

WALKER: And take a look at this video, just, wow. It is CNN, the earthquake causing the roof to collapse at this just renovated gymnasium. It looks like we saw someone run away just in the next time.

Miraculously, a lot of them running away here the neck of time. No one was hurt. That's what we've been told. CNN's Will Ripley joining us now with more.

So, let's start with these pictures from that gymnasium. I mean, nobody was hurt? Wow.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Isn't that incredible? To see how frightening that must have been. They're in there, they just renovated, as you said. The roof of this gymnasium, it looks sparkling, brand new. And then you have this earthquake, a 6.9 magnitude quake.

After 24 hour period, we've had a lot of earthquakes well over 50 here in Taiwan, beginning with the 6.4 on Saturday night local time.


But then, I mean no one in that school -- first of all, when you're on a low floor, you sometimes don't even feel the earthquake. So, these kids are playing. They might not have known until all the sudden, everything starts tumbling down. But, yes, incredibly, no one was hurt there.

We haven't gotten any reports of serious injuries. You know, throughout the afternoon, it's pretty remarkable when you look at some of the images coming out from Taiwan, the epicenter of 200 miles from Taipei, in county. Yeah, you can see. A building collapse, several buildings claps, actually.

There are four people that were trapped inside a 7-Eleven convenience store, after rescue that took several hours, all of them are now safe. They're doing just fine.

You can see there was a train derailment. 20 passengers were on board. They were also evacuated safely.

In a more rural area, there was a pretty dramatic bridge collapse. So, these are the images from the areas closest to this shallow cake, which was about six miles underground. Then, here in Taipei, my place, 200 miles away the shaking was so intense and has been continuing and in aftershock, you feel like you're on a boat, when the buildings are swaying back and forth, no serious damage.

I'll tell you what, I feel motion sick. After most of the day, that's how much of my friends in Taipei who live on a higher floor.

And so, everybody just hoping that the worst of these quakes are over is Taiwan's president does want people to be vigilant in the hours and days to come, because they are expecting more earthquakes, more aftershocks.

WALKER: Incredible how differently you feel the quake when you're on a high floor of a high-rise, especially when it's been retrofitted to withstand earthquakes with their built so that they do sway a lot and you can feel sea sick, for sure.

Will Ripley, good to see, thanks so much. SANCHEZ: Thanks, Will.

WALKER: Still to come this morning, as Ukraine continues to gain ground in the Kharkiv region, more disturbing discoveries. Ukrainian president now claiming to find more than ten torture rooms in the liberated areas. More, next.



WALKER: New this morning, Ukrainian officials say four medics were killed while trying to evacuate hospital patients during Russian missile strikes in the Kharkiv region. This following a barrage of rocket attacks yesterday and at least 30 areas across the country and that is according to the Ukrainian military.

SANCHEZ: In recent days, Russian forces have somewhat retreated from the Kharkiv region as Ukrainian fighters continue to grow in ground in the South and in the east. CNN Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman is in Kharkiv and he has the latest.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Ukrainian forces continued to gain more ground in the Kharkiv region, although at a slower pace than over the last two weeks. While Russian forces are trying to dig new defensive lines in the areas they still control.

The governor of the Kharkiv region says that his priority at the moment is to restore basic services, electricity, water and heating in the newly liberated areas. While efforts continue to exhume more bodies at the mass burial site outside Izium and Ukrainian officials are showing journalists what they say were Russian prisons complete with torture rooms.

This area continues to come under bombardment from Russian forces. Early Saturday morning, Russian missiles slammed into an industrial site here in the city of Kyiv. And in a nearby town, a Russian barrage according to Ukrainian officials, killed an 11 year old girl. I'm Ben Wedeman, CNN reporting from Kharkiv.


SANCHEZ: Our thanks to Ben Wedeman for that report. Let's dig deeper now with Washington Post columnist and CNN political analyst, Josh Rogin. Josh, good morning. Always great to see you bright and early on a weekend.

I want to talk to you about Russia's allies. Because recently there have been some cracks in what appeared to be relatively stable relationships between Vladimir Putin and Modi of India and Xi of China. First with Modi, he apparently told Vladimir Putin that now is not the time for war, and that Russia should be on a path to peace. How big of a deal is that? JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, clearly, Boris, there's trouble in paradise amongst the bloc of autocratic dictators that is mounting an effort to create a world order to compete with the West and to support Russia's war in Ukraine.

Now, of course, President Modi of India is not part of that block. But until now, he has not sanctioned Russia is not sanctioned Vladimir Putin. And by publicly calling him out, he's stepping closer to actually doing something to stop aiding Russia to start helping Ukraine in the West.

Now, he hasn't actually done that. It's a sign. It's a public signal that he's unhappy. His economy is terrible. And Putin is responsible for that in large part, but I would just say to President Modi, if he's watching, perhaps think about putting your money where your mouth is because it's OK to criticize Putin in public but it's not OK to support him in private.

SANCHEZ: Perhaps a weekend New Day fan, the Prime Minister of India. As far as President Xi goes, I want to play some sound from Vladimir Putin because he acknowledged something that I was surprised by this week. Listen to this.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We highly appreciate the balanced position of our Chinese friends in connection with the Ukrainian crisis. We understand your questions and concerns in this regard. During today's meeting, of course, we will explain in detail our position on this issue, although we have spoken about this before.



SANCHEZ: We understand your questions and concerns in this regard. What surprised you more Josh that President Xi had questions and concerns about Russia's approach in Ukraine, or that Putin publicly acknowledged them?

ROGIN: Of the ladder, you know, we've known for a long time that the Chinese economy like the Indian economy is suffering, like all the economies around the world. And Putin has to be held responsible for that. At the same time, the Russia China alliance, the P -- the Xi- Putin alliance is very strong. And it's important for both sides.

So while we, again, we're seeing cracks. We don't see enough cracks that would actually cause China to stop doing what they're doing, which is to help Putin by U.S. sanctions, to help them get out from under the financial pressure that they're in.

And so right now, it's just a lot of rhetoric in my view, Boris. So in other words, Putin is definitely saying the right things, but he's not doing anything different. And until the Chinese and the Indians and the rest of the world that supporting Putin's war effort, gets frustrated enough that they actually change their policy. What we'll see is just a lot of sort of sniping in public, but not a lot of break between these autocrats in private.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Josh, I want to pivot to something else entirely now, and I hope you don't mind if I asked you about the Lancet Commission report that was published last week, they detailed the global failures in responding to COVID-19. And part of their analysis describes the theory that COVID 19 originated in a lab as still feasible. You wrote the book detailing the evidence that substantiates that at the very least, the lab leak theory should not be dismissed. I'm wondering what you make of the report.

ROGIN: Right. Well, the Lancet Commission after two years of work, determined that there are two possible theories of how the COVID 19 pandemic began either a natural origin or origin that's related in some way to all of the labs in Wuhan that were doing back Coronavirus research.

Now that puts them exactly in the same position as the World Health Organization and the Biden administration who have said, essentially the same exact thing. And, you know, while that's controversial amongst people who dismiss the lab lead theory, more and more, you'll see these international organizations, as well as the U.S. government take a more balanced position.

In other words, we don't know how the pandemic started. But we have to check out both possibilities. That shouldn't be a controversial view, in my opinion, but for a lot of understandable reasons it is. Nevertheless, what the lancet committee Commission has said very clearly is that we can't rule it out. So we have to check it out. And I have to agree with that.

SANCHEZ: There needs to be an investigation to figure out those details.

ROGIN: Exactly.

SANCHEZ: How that could happen under the CCP's (ph) watch a more complicated question to answer.

ROGIN: Exactly.

SANCHEZ: Josh Rogin, thanks so much. Always appreciate the time, Josh.

ROGIN: Anytime.

WALKER: It is a remake of a Disney classic that is proving why representation matters. But the live action Little Mermaid is facing of course racist, racist backlash over the casting of a black actress to play Ariel, we're going to discuss that next.



WALKER: Walt Disney's remake of its classic Little Mermaid has prompted outrage and a slew of racist criticism. The reboot stars Halle Bailey, a black woman as the title character Ariel.

Isn't her voice magical. The movies trailer has racked up 20 million views on YouTube but disgruntled viewers left more than a million dislikes and many derogatory comments. However, for every angry critic or fan, there are many more children who see themselves reflected in a beloved Disney classic. Just look at some of the reactions from young girls.

Joining me now is TreaAndrea Russworm, a professor of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, USC my alma mater. Great to see you this morning.

I have to say just looking at the full videos online, it was really moving for me, you know, because I myself you know as a little girl of color have these kinds of reactions. You know, when the few times I would see myself represented. Seeing these little girls light up like that in surprise, we should mention because that is proof that, you know, people of color are still underrepresented in the media. It's a real profound reaction, isn't it? I mean, what does this mean for young black girls?

DR. TREAANDREA RUSSWORM, USC, SCHOOL OF CINEMATIC ARTS: Well, to me that's really the lead story here when you see those reactions of parents posting their young daughters watching anticipation this new Ariel.


And you're really seeing that identification happened right on the screen, on the double screens, of the young girl saying, Wow, Ariel looks like me. I want to see that. I'm so excited. You only need to go directly to those sources to really start to capture why this is so significant, why this is so important, and why this is so powerful.

This new aerial is showing young girls, young black girls, that black girl magic can be in live action, right? And it can be animated, it can be boldly reimagined, you can have the beauty of what young black girls already are represented on screen and these new and dynamic way.

WALKER: It's deep. Right. it absolutely is the story. And you know, I've had so many people ask me this question in many different ways about why representation matters. I'm sure you're much more articulate because it goes beyond Oh, she looks like me. Now it helps -- it allows you to dream. You know, dreams that you never thought could be reality, it helps you feel like you belong, right. Talk more about why representation matters so much?

RUSSWORM: Well, on the individual level representation matters so much, because it unlocks things that we don't even fully understand yet in the imagination of children, when children are able to take those images, and do all of these unpredictable things with them and their imaginative play spaces.

But in a larger sense, representation matters because it's always about power. Power resides in popular culture, and the images that convey messages about who belongs, who has agency, who can be a part of a world, who cannot be a part of a world. So popular culture is always about power. And the culture wars and reaction to things like this is always about fears and anxiety, of losing power, losing control over who is depicted and who was imagined in different contexts.

WALKER: Exactly. You know, and I have to say that the backlash has been ridiculous. I'd hate to give it any kind of legitimacy. But I do want to talk about some of the arguments, you know, I've been seeing online, you know, that mermaid should have lighter skin because they live under the ocean and they don't have exposure to the sun or that, you know, the Little Mermaid is a Danish story, and therefore, a must be white. What do you say to these trolls and the racists out there who just refuse to accept a different color Ariel?

RUSSWORM: Yes, I mean, first and foremost, this is fiction. This is fantasy, everything and anything is possible in fiction, and in fantasy. This is not real. But secondly, I would say that, you know, look, the source material originally written by Hans Christian -- Hans Christian Anderson, is radically different from the story that Disney tells in it's 1989, The Little Mermaid. So that itself is a -- is an adaptation.

And so there are many sort of darker, more tragic elements to that original story that Disney just kind of wrote out of the story of the Little Mermaid that we know today. So this next iteration of the Little Mermaid is going to be getting another retelling. And there is a rich media tradition of these adaptations of black casts adaptations and remakes, you have Cinderella, that started Brandi and Whitney Houston in the 90s, you have is famously a remake of The Wizard of Oz.

There's nothing new here in that sense, that often these intellectual properties are changed, updated and reimagined. And they themselves are adaptations of other works. So, no creative license or ownership here that can't be expanded and re adapted for a new contemporary context.

WALKER: Absolutely. I wish we had more time. TreaAndrea Russworm, thank you so much for the conversation.

RUSSWORM: Thank you for having me.

WALKER: We'll be right back.



WALKER: And we go here's a look at some of the other stories we are following, former President Donald Trump has until noon on Tuesday to respond to a DOJ request putting on hold parts of the judge's order requiring a special master review of documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.

SANCHEZ: The DOJ is asking the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to exclude seized documents marked as classified from that review and to allow a criminal investigation into those documents to continue. WALKER: Typhoon Nanmadol has made landfall in Japan just a short time ago, about 2 million people have been ordered to evacuate the island of Kyushu because of possible landslides. Millions more are in the storm's path as it moves over the rest of Japan. Weather officials warn of violent winds high waves and a storm surge.

SANCHEZ: And we're going to leave you this morning with a live look at London at the final day the public is going to be able to file in to pay their respects to the Queen. Officials in London have now asked people to stop coming to join the line. The wait is still more than 14 hours long. Remember, you don't want to miss any of coverage as the world mourns Queen Elizabeth II. Tune into CNN. Our coverage starts at 5:00 a.m. just ahead of her state funeral tomorrow. 5:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

WALKER: With us this morning. We hope you have a great Sunday.

SANCHEZ: And we're always great to be with you. Stay tuned Inside Politics Sunday with Abby Phillip is up next.