‘The Little Mermaid’ live action casting sparks controversy


We all know the tale of The Little Mermaid: it’s a classic Disney fairy tale about a mermaid, Ariel, who wants to be a part of the human world instead of staying in the sea, so she gives her voice to a sea witch in exchange for legs, before she meets and falls in love with a prince. Recently, there’s been lots of advertising for an upcoming live action adaptation of the animated movie, directed by Rob Marshall and expected to be released on May 26, 2023. Halle Bailey was cast as Ariel. This choice, however, would prove to be controversial.

There has been unrelenting criticism and hate buzzing all over the internet in response to the new Little Mermaid casting. These viewers think that since the original Ariel was white, the live action actress should be as well. Plenty of people think this casting isn’t realistic, but what’s realistic about mermaids and talking sea animals? Individuals also  argue that its okay to change other princesses races then, such as Tiana or Mulan. However, Ariel’s race isn’t vital to her character, unlike Tiana or Mulan. Their cultures are brought into their films frequently, which is why they shouldn’t be portrayed as white. Allow children who aren’t white to have representation and feel seen.

Another issue I’m having with the upset audience is their blatant racism. The amount of racist “memes” and “jokes” I have seen everywhere on the internet is exhausting and heartbreaking. There are so many far bigger problems in the world than a black woman playing Ariel. Halle Bailey is beyond talented and beautiful, and she absolutely deserves a chance in regards to this role.

On the other end of the spectrum, a new trend TikTok has risen. This trend includes parents filming their black kids watching the new Little Mermaid trailer. The reactions are nothing short of heartwarming, from happy, smiling kids to ones just watching in awe. I truly have no idea how people can watch these videos and have a problem with the new Ariel. Representation matters always.