In 1937, Snow White was unveiled as the first Disney Princess. It wasn’t for another 70 years
until Black women could see a face similar to theirs when The Princess and the Frog’s main
character graced our screens as Princess Tiana.
Recent outrage has sparked in response to the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid starring
Halle Bailey, a Black woman.
Though time has shown that racism and prejudice have progressed since 1937, small moments,
like the debut of the one-minute and 30-second teaser, have demonstrated the polarization of
the American people and how far we have yet to come.
The new Twitter hashtag “#NotMyAriel” has allied hate speech and criticism of the new movie
before its debut. Fans of the original film pick apart the trailer, pointing out details like Ariel’s hair
not being red enough.
Facebook hate groups added to the negative discourse as well with disturbing graphics being
posted depicting Bailey as “The Little Slave” and other prejudice stereotypes.
Many have vowed to boycott the movie and refuse to take their children to see the fictional
Those who have come to the defense of Bailey and the new film have argued very valid points
for the movie and its casting, including the fact that mermaids are most popularly a part of
African and Caribbean mythology. The folklore of mermaids originated in the Mediterranean
sea, surrounded by Europe, Asia, and Africa, meaning mermaids could virtually be any color.
Sebastian, the Jamaican accented crab, also calls into question why there was so much outrage
towards the movie. Many wonder why those opposed didn’t care about the race and ethnicity of
some of the other fictional characters in the original tale.
White actors have a history of being cast and playing the role of people of color, and the hate
has never been reciprocated.
Other viewers, although grateful for Bailey’s casting as the Little Mermaid, hate that Black
women must “recycle white princesses in order to be royalty.”
Two percent of red-headed women in the world feel they have been slighted as the “minority” in
Hollywood without representation in the media, but most feel like this Ariel dilemma is a
dramatic pity party that doesn’t quite compare to the oppression of many marginalized groups.
The trailer garnered 1.5 million dislikes on YouTube in just two days, but that hasn’t stopped
little girls worldwide from being excited about the premiere.
“She’s like me!”
“I’m so excited.”
A viral video compiled of young Black girls reactions to seeing the movie trailer for the first time
left viewers with warm hearts and smiles.
Star Taylor is a nursing student and aunt to an eight-year-old niece. She is excited about the
movie and believes it sends a positive message.
“I’m glad they are switching the focus and making Black women lead characters,” Taylor said.
“They are finally giving our Black youth people to look up to, giving them a ‘if she can do it, I can do it attitude.”
We are excited to see Halle’s performance in her first major film and can only hope the Black
community rallies for her as they did for Black Panther.
Regardless of skin color or cultural differences, everyone should feel represented in the media
and feel like they are part of this world.