Backlash Over Disney’s New ‘Little Mermaid’ Actress

Iyad Anbar, Staff Writer

In September 2022, Disney released its teaser trailer for their most recent live-action film, “The Little Mermaid,” at the D23 Expo. Controversy soon occurred all throughout the world due to the lead actress that will be playing Ariel, Halle Bailey, having a different skin tone than the cartoon version. 

Most of the backlash received against the movie has been racially motivated in my perspective since it is all about the appearance of the lead actress playing Ariel. The teaser trailer for the film that comes out in May of 2023 massed over 1.5 million dislikes. A tremendous quantity of comments on the trailer has also been profoundly negative. 

Individuals have also brought up scenarios, such as, “What if they made Tiana or Mulan white?” These would evidently be exceedingly controversial. However, Tiana was based on a black woman, Mulan was based on an Asian woman, and Ariel is a fish and a mythical creature. People have also brought up her hair and want it to be redder. I think her hair might end up being a brighter shade of red because all of the shots displayed in the teaser trailer were underwater and very dark. Individuals online have also brought up the fairytale being Danish, where she should be white. However, in Disney’s cartoon film, she was based in the Mediterranean and had a Caribbean crab as a sidekick. So, her race shouldn’t be that important or significant in the live-action movie in my point of view. Halle Bailey also has a great voice, and I believe she will do the role justice.

Young black girls and boys that will be capable of seeing themselves in the live-action “The Little Mermaid” film are what should be making people happy and excited for this film to come out next year. People also need to realize that it’s not like the original movie is being taken away from them, so they should not be angry. If people do not like the new casting choice of Ariel, then they should just not see the movie in May of 2023. They are acting like Disney’s forcing them to watch the film against their will when their not.

Parents all over the world have been posting videos of their children reacting to the teaser trailer, and most of the reactions from the kids have been immensely positive and heart-warming. A multitude of kids all over the world finally has someone to see themselves in other than Tiana. After all, this movie is made mainly with the thought of children in mind and not easily-tempered grown adults. An enormous amount of children should be excited to see this film when it comes out and for it to not be ruined by adults acting like kids. I believe that the movie will be great once it comes out, and people should be eager to watch Halle Bailey on the big screen and not hate the film over a casting choice.