The Little Black Mermaid (Halle Bailey) arouses controversy among Disney fans

There are not a few adaptations of classics that Disney has done with flesh and blood actors in recent years. From Emma Watson as Belle (Beauty and the Beast) to Will Smith as Genie (Aladdin) or Angelina Jolie as Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty). Now it’s time for the maritime classic par excellence: The little Mermaid. However, Disney’s choice for the role of Ariel has not pleased many fans around the world, as Halle Bailey, a black American actress and singer, was chosen.

The official announcement of who would star in the film came in 2019. Already then Halle Bailey had to face criticism on social networks, becoming trending topic. Now, history repeats itself with the publication of the official trailer that Disney has released on its official channels.

The video on the channel in Spanish at the moment reaches half a million views. However, the video in English already accumulates 16 million. as they shared some users on Twitter, with a Google Chrome extension you can see the “I don’t like” the video, which tripled the “likes”. The negative opinions of the trailer, therefore, exceed one million.

Who is Halle Bailey, the new Ariel?

Born in 1998 in Atalanta, Georgia, Halle Bailey is the sister of singer Chloe, with whom she had a music duo called Chloe x Halle. The 22-year-old American went to her first Met Gala in 2021 with her sister and she also went to the Oscar Awards this year, in 2022.

The Bailey sisters showcased their artistic abilities and talent by performing at the 2019 Grammys and 2020 VMAs.

In a very emotional video of an interview they did about the film, the person in charge of reincarnating Ariel said that the very fact of being able to audition was surprising even for her and that during the recording process she sometimes cried from the excited about the opportunity that was being offered to him.

“I am very grateful that I was able to reinvent Ariel and show other beautiful black and brown girls that, hey, you can do this too, you are magical, and mythical, and all the beautiful things that are in between”, counted between nervous laughter and Halle Bailey tears.

Reactions to The Little Mermaid in Spain

Many users have been in favor, while others have harshly criticized the race of the actress.

“I don’t like that the actress in the Little Mermaid is black, just as I wouldn’t like the actress in Pocahontas to be white, it’s not racism, it’s respecting the original film,” said user Alena in a viral tweet.

However, other users have been in favor, with different arguments. rafael poulain, known for his trivia threads, told anecdotes about the original tale and its author, Hans Christian Andersen. A theory, reaffirmed by Otto Más in his book Great queers in historyis that The little Mermaid is an allegory of Andersen’s love with the writer Rictor Norton. In addition, Poulain specifies that his race is not mentioned in the story.

He also details, refuting those who say that it has to be the same as the original, that if it were, the story would have to end with Ariel’s death, as it happens in the story.

Other arguments on the net is that while it makes sense to maintain the rigor of race in movies like mulan either Aladdin, due to the weight it has in the story, it doesn’t make sense in a mythological character like a mermaid. Even less when the only references to Ariel’s environment, in the original 1989 film, is the Caribbean accent of Sebastian the crab.

All the casting of the actors in the new version, in fact, is diverse. Among them you can find the Spanish participation of Javier Bardem as King Triton, Ariel’s father. The sisters of The Little Mermaid will be actresses of different races, since each one represents each of the “seven seas”.

Many fans prefer to focus on how important it is for black girls to have role models that they couldn’t have and that Halle Bailey will surely be for them. In addition, they defend that if something characterizes the protagonist of The little Mermaid It is her voice, which the actress has shown to have more than enough.

In fact, there are many videos on social networks of reactions of black girls when they see the trailer, in which you can see the illusion of them seeing themselves reflected in the new reinterpretation by Halle Bailey.

The movie of The little Mermaid It will be released on May 26, 2023 in theaters. The recording has taken years, as the project began before the coronavirus pandemic, which delayed the entire recording process to date. The company has recently announced many new projects from both Disney and Pixar, including a prequel to The Lion King (call Mufasa), Inside Out 2 or the live action from the tale of Peter Pan. In addition, this month the new version of Pinocchio was released on the Disney Plus platform, whose main theme in Spanish was sung by Chanel.

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