ARIEL: Halle Bailey
#NOTMYAriel. #MakeArielWhiteAgain. Sounds more like propaganda than film promotion right? These are just a few of the slogans being plastered across social media in response to Disney’s decision to cast Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid remake.
Despite being a highly talented individual, who currently stars on Black-ish spinoff show Grownish and is one half of the contemporary R&B duo Chloe x Halle, many have critcised Disney’s decision to cast the star as Ariel because the character, created by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, is traditionally depicted as a white mermaid with red hair.
Despite this “progressive” era we now live in, many Disney fans were disappointed to find that Bailey will take on the role of their beloved – and again, fictional – white mermaid.
Amid the criticism, Disney’s Freeform decided to strike back. In an Instagram post titled “An open letter to the Poor, Unfortunate souls’ Freeform explained:
“Yes. The original author of The Little Mermaid was Danish. Ariel…is a mermaid. She lives in an underwater kingdom in international waters and can legit swim wherever she wants (even though that often upsets King Triton, absolute zaddy),” the post states. “But for the sake of argument, let’s say that Ariel, too, is Danish.
“Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black. Ariel can sneak up to the surface at any time with her pals Scuttle and the *ahem* Jamaican crab Sebastian (sorry, Flounder!) and keep that bronze base tight. Black Danish people, and this mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair.”
“But spoiler alert – bring it back to the top – the character of Ariel is a work of fiction,” the post adds. “So after all this is said and done, and you still cannot get past the idea that choosing the incredible, sensational, highly-talented, gorgeous Halle Bailey is anything other than the INSPIRED casting that it is because she ‘doesn’t look like the cartoon one,’ oh boy, do I have some news for you…about you.”
The bold post, which gained over 56,000 likes, saw fans, critics and lurkers take to social media to add their two sense to the conversation.
Whilst many questioned the relevance of her race due to Ariel being a fictional character, some still strongly disagreed with Bailey’s casting, despite Disney’s response.
One Instagram user commented: “It’s not about racism, at least for me, I have nothing against Halle. I get other races should get more representation and I’m all for more black princesses but just don’t mess with the classics or change a main character like that.’
Some even went as far to say that if Disney were to remake The Princess and the Frog without Princess Tiana – the only African American Disney princess – there would be an even larger uproar.
Terry Crews added a little humour to the debate by tweeting a photoshopped picture of himself as King Triton, declaring he should take on the role of Ariel’s dad. However, it seems he has steep competition with many fans believing Idris Elba is destined for the role.
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