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Halle Bailey, of Chloe X Halle, has been cast as Ariel in the upcoming live-action adaptation of Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Racists can accept there’s a crab with a Caribbean accent but not a black Little Mermaid

As expected, people have been showing their ignorance while trying to prove why a talented 19-year-old black woman – she is backed by Beyonce so what more proof do you need? – has no business playing a fictional character. While one corner of the internet praise-danced all over the timeline at the progressive casting, some social media users seriously tiptoed around the celebrations to nitpick. Just admit that you don’t want black women cast in lead roles with your chest, rather than hide behind silly questions because this is no way the same as complaints about white women playing real-life historical characters. I’d understand all this noise if Will Smith just announced that he was proud to be cast as the Queen’s father. But, no.

Halle Bailey

I had spotted my favorite take on the topic and within a split second, I concluded that second-hand embarrassment might actually be as bad as piping hot outrage. A Twitter user began a debate by writing: ‘Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it physically impossible for Ariel to be black? ‘She lives underwater, how would the sun get to her for her to produce melanin?! Nobody thought this through..?’ I’ll think it through for you, dear friend. For starters, I myself was born black, and there was no sun in my mother’s womb yet somehow I still managed to produce a lot of melanin while born in the winter. And if we are going to pretend like the Little Mermaid is in any way as realistic as a David Attenborough documentary, I think we should be more concerned with how Ariel/Halle will manage to breathe underwater. How will her lungs produce the oxygen she needs to stay alive? Will she die before she can even deliver her first line? What if she drowns before even meeting Prince Eric. So many questions.

 

Editorial use only Mandatory Credit: Photo by Snap/REX/Shutterstock (390889jk) FILM STILLS OF 'LITTLE MERMAID' WITH 1989, ARIEL, JOHN / RON CLEMENTE MUSKER IN 1989 VARIOUS

Why is her skin tone the issue here while accepting a crab with a Caribbean accent, a squid with a fetish for stealing voices and a seagull that brushes its ‘hair’ with a fork is all of a sudden realistic enough. My colleague even righty pointed out that the king of the sea demands concerts when sound travels badly through the water. I mean, can we talk about that …

Of course, this is not the first time a black woman has been cast as the lead for a live-action adaptation of a popular fairytale movie. Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, produced by and starring Whitney Houston, shows Brandy play the lead in the 1997 remake that features a cast so racially diverse Whoopi Goldberg plays the mother of the Asian prince. That movie came out just fine over 20 years ago –  so I doubt Little Mermaid will suffer because they picked a highly melaninated young lady to swim underwater with some talking fishes.

 

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