During Disney’s D23 Expo, information was released about the new live action “Little Mermaid.” During the event the trailer was well received, but the trailer on Youtube received millions of dislikes.
Over the course of the two weeks since the trailer’s been released, the backlash against it has only increased, with a heavy amount of racist remarks and attacks toward the decision to cast a Black lead for the role of Ariel.
Halle Bailey was announced as the actress playing Ariel in July of 2019. While the decision received some pushback at the time, it wasn’t until the trailer released that millions of people started hating on the fact that Ariel is played by a Black actress.
A Forbes article from September 14 includes tweets discussing this backlash. These include quotes from people explaining why the backlash against Bailey is racist and the original tweets. It also included videos of young Black girls watching the trailer and reacting to the representation of seeing a princess who looks like them on screen.
People are claiming they’re upset the new Ariel isn’t white because she was white in the original animation. Other people have been hitting back on this attitude in the past few days.
“People are mad that The Little Mermaid is Black? The lady who is also a fish? Who lives under the sea? Whose best friend is a talking crab?” Lynda Carter said on her Twitter.
Other people mentioned on Twitter their thoughts on the casting.
“The original The Little Mermaid is a queer man’s self-insertion character, longing to be able to be in a relationship with another man, and at the end the mermaid dies. You don’t care about the original, mate,” Nome said.
“I’m not a fan of Disney’s live action remakes, but The Little Mermaid trailer is pissing off racist idiots while making black girls happy and I’m all for that,” Zachary Burnett said.
As part of the response from the release of the trailer, parents have been posting videos of young Black girls and their reactions to the trailer. It’s so pure watching young girls see a princess that looks like them and feel like they can relate to her in a way they can’t to white princesses. What does it matter if Ariel is a different race than the animation if it’s going to help so many young people, regardless of their gender? If it bothers you, you don’t have to watch it and can instead watch the other live actions with white actresses.
There are also several people showing screenshots of the likes versus dislikes on different live action teasers and how they differ from the movies with white actresses, like “Cinderella,” or even movies with actresses the same race as the original animation like in “Mulan” and “Aladdin.” “The Little Mermaid” seems to be the only one getting the level of hate it’s been getting because Disney cast a Black actress.
I personally am not a huge fan of the live action Disney remakes, as a lot of people seem to be, but I think it’s amazing that the producers chose an actress based on her ability and qualifications instead of race. And, as many people are pointing out, these movies are made for children and not for adults to nitpick over.