Should a black actress play a redheaded mermaid?

Last week, Halle Bailey was cast as Ariel for Disney's new The Little Mermaid live-action movie and the Internet lost its mind. No, not Halle Berry, as many people have confused her for but Halle Bailey, a 20 year old singer and half of the Grammy-nominated sister singing duo called ChloexHalle.

Additionally, the star and her sister have spots as recurring cast members on ABC's popular sitcom Grown-ish. But perhaps the most important detail out of all of this is that Halle is black.

Disney's original animated The Little Mermaid movie featured a red-haired, white mermaid, so naturally, less-than-pleased opinions were unleashed on Disney's casting choice. The Little Mermaid is embedded in the childhood of many, from not just the movie but toys and other animated appearances, and many argue that this new 'version' will taint or alter the memory of the singing creature in their minds.

On the other hand, many responses, especially those from the black community, were positive, congratulating the singer/actress and deeming other negative opinions as racist and unnecessarily problematic. Arguments like the fact that mermaids aren't real, the Disney movie is not geographically specific, and that Disney only has one other black princess are just some of the bite-backs that are being firmly shouted over tweets and Instagram captions.

The buzz eventually spouted Twitter's number one worldwide trending hashtag “#NotMyAriel” but in true twitter fashion, there was an ironic turn of event where the hashtag became over-saturated with clapbacks against anyone that had negative comments about Halle as Ariel.

Some tweets that got a lot of buzz include:

This: "You are the worst choice that Disney has ever made #NotMyAriel"

This: "Ariel is a historically white princess they cant just change that, if they made a princess and the frog live action but cast tiana as a white woman everyone would still be mad. its not racism this is blackwashing."

This: "Dear #NotMyAriel people. You're right, she's not your Ariel. Because it's someone else's turn to see themselves in The Little Mermaid. You've had yours.

and this, by queen Halle Berry herself, reminding them that Halle's get it done: "In case you needed a reminder... Halles get it DONE. Congratulations @chloexhalle on this amazing opportunity, we can't wait to see what you do! #TheLittleMermaid#HalleBailey"

But the star herself focused on positivity, tweeting: "dream come true..."

And Disney's Freeform also notably made this statement on their Instagram

So what do you guys think? Is Disney doing this just for the sake of diversity, or do you think it should not matter as long as she can sing and embody the personality of the character? Share your thoughts in the comments!

--Matthew Dawkins


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