Photo Credit: Disney
Disney’s The Little Mermaid is finally receiving a live-action remake, decades after the studio debuted the original version. The film is instantly identifiable and well-known, spanning decades after generations. The racial depiction in the brief clip released by Disney a few days ago is what has made the live-action go viral.
Videos of Black females and youngsters pleasantly reacting to the tanned Ariel went popular on social media.
“Mommy! … She’s brown like me!” said a girl in a video posted on TikTok.
Similar videos circulated on social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok after Disney published the teaser. The videos were shared with the hashtags #representationmatters and #Blackgirlmagic. The Little Mermaid trailer has received over 12 million views to date.
The clip was initially revealed at Disney’s D23 Expo. Other films, such as the Enchanted sequel, are set to be released alongside it. Fans erupted after seeing Halle Bailey, a singer from the R&B combo Chloe x Halle, take on the character of the main heroine while singing a portion of the iconic song “Part of Your World.”
Other cast members for the film include Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Javier Bardem as Triton, and Awkwafina as Scuttle.
Casting was disapproved by other viewers
While many people were pleased to see a dark-skinned girl play a figure who was considered to be white, others were not pleased. The Little Mermaid is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about Ariel, a white girl. Others believe Disney’s live adaption went against the original author as a result of this. Some people have adopted the hashtag #NotMyAriel to voice their displeasure.
Bailey, on the other hand, stated that while it did impact her in certain ways, she had her grandparents who provided her various bits of advice on how to deal with criticism.
“It was an inspiring and beautiful thing to hear their words of encouragement, telling me, ‘You don’t understand what this is doing for us, for our community, for all the little Black and brown girls who are going to see themselves in you,'” stated Bailey.
“I want the little girl in me and the little girls just like me who are watching to know that they’re special and that they should be a princess in every single way.”
Bailey’s role is perfect for her
The film’s director, Rob Marshall, stated that Bailey was a natural in front of the camera.
“Halle had this incredible facility to be able to dig deep, find the truth of Ariel’s passion and her heart. It was like watching a great film actor being born,” recalled the director.
Marshall first saw Bailey while watching the Grammys in 2019, when she sang “Where Is The Love” with her duet, Chloe. Bailey, according to Marshall, had a clear voice, and he questioned if the young woman could act. She then contacted Bailey and requested if she could sing Ariel’s “Part of Your World” in a tryout for The Little Mermaid.
“When she finished, I was in tears because she’s so soulful. You could tell right away that she was able to harness Ariel’s passion, her fire, her soul, her joy and her heart,” said Marshall.
Bailey, on the other hand, expressed gratefulness for the chance. Playing the lead in an animated film that everyone has grown to admire is both a difficult and enjoyable duty.
“I find myself learning things from these characters and trying to adopt them and keep them with me as I go about my life. It’s like the universe is trying to give these themes to me, like ‘Here, do it! We’re putting it in through the characters,'” Bailey explained.
This coming May 26, 2023, The Little Mermaid will debut in cinemas.
Opinions expressed by US Insider contributors are their own.