Yes, A Black Woman Will Play The Little Mermaid: Get Over It
With its choice of Halle Bailey for the role, Disney is casting a more inclusive net
When I first saw the news that singer-actress Halle Bailey was chosen to play Ariel in the upcoming The Little Mermaid live-action film, I was pleasantly surprised. I wouldn’t have imagined that Disney would be that creative in their casting for this film. But when I saw Bailey would be helming the title role, I was instantly intrigued.
A lot of people, including superstars like Mariah Carey, Halle Berry, Janelle Monáe and Zendaya, were also excited. Tons of fan art was created, POC-centric fan-castings were made for the remaining characters and folks were generally basking in the glow of Ariel being represented by a woman of color.
However, there are bad apples trying to ruin the bunch. While the majority of Disney fans and casual supporters were happy at the prospect of seeing Bailey don her mermaid fin, there’s been a handful of people who are exerting more negative energy than necessary over the casting news. Not only have some claimed redheads aren’t being represented (as if there aren’t Black people who have red hair, natural or otherwise), but they have been using the strawman argument of a white actress playing Princess Tiana. Some folks have even created a petition demanding Disney recast the character. While there might be some who are genuinely upset that their version of Ariel won’t be the one they’ll see on the big screen, the backlash seems to be mainly comprised of racism.
We all know that Disney’s not paying attention to that petition, especially since they didn’t pay attention to angry Star Wars fans when John Boyega was cast as ex-Stormtrooper Finn in The Force Awakens. The company certainly didn’t pay any attention to Millennials (including me) kvetching over the lack of Mushu and Shang in the live-action Mulan film. Now that I’ve seen the first Mulan trailer, I can say we were kvetching for nothing, ’cause that trailer looks tight.
We are particularly aware of Disney’s nonplussed attitude to angry and/or racist fans because Freeform itself issued a statement clapping back at everyone snapping on Bailey, who along with her sister Chloe, is one of the stars on…