The Little Mermaid can be Black


Editorial Board

Disney released the new trailer for the upcoming live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid” Sept. 9, and in the 12 short days it’s been on the internet, people are already complaining.

Most of the complaints are about the live-action Ariel’s race, as she is being portrayed by Halle Bailey, a Black singer and actress. 

Angry viewers took to Twitter to complain how casting Bailey would be untrue to the original story written by Hans Christian Andersen, a Danish author, as well as how the Left is casting actors of color as white characters to make the stories more “woke.”

These arguments against a Black Ariel are ridiculous and honestly kind of pathetic. For starters, the original story, written in 1837, is much darker than the Disney-fied version. The mermaid suffers extreme pain after being turned into a human in an attempt to gain a soul so she can be with the prince. The prince never falls in love with her, but instead marries a princess from a different kingdom whom he believes saved him from the shipwreck instead. The mermaid, at first attempting to kill the prince so she can return to the sea, instead throws herself into the ocean and turns into sea foam, becoming a spirit for 300 years. If that’s really the story you want to tell to little kids, then be our guest.

Secondly, what is the harm in adding more diversity to the Disney princess lineup? Not counting Ariel, there are 11 other recognized princesses, and six of them are white. The only other Black princess is Tiana, who was introduced in 2009. She spends more than half her screen time as a frog.

Since the trailer’s release, many other viewers have posted videos of young Black girls reacting with awe and excitement seeing Bailey on screen for the first time. Giving these girls a character that they can relate to and see themselves in is a good step toward better diversity in one of the largest franchises in the entertainment industry and will hopefully open the door to better representation in the future.

And if either of these arguments as to why we should let the live-action movie be aren’t enough for you, remember what a mermaid is: a mythical creature with no set culture, no set race and no set guidelines for who is and isn’t allowed to play one in a movie.