When it was announced a few years ago that 22-year-old Halle Bailey was cast as the title role in Disney’s live-action version of The Little Mermaid, trolls from sea to shining sea were ready to denounce an Ariel who just happened to be Black. It’s not surprising though, because whenever a non-POC character gets switched to a different race it triggers something in people’s brains where they just can’t accept the idea that sometimes….people aren’t white. GASP! And unfortunately, Halle couldn’t really enjoy the accomplishment of booking such a coveted role because of all the hate she received. But now she’s speaking out about the backlash and how it helped her to understand just how important her turn as Ariel is.
When Disney first started casting their live-action version of The Little Mermaid, they broke the hearts of racists and Lindsay Lohan by casting Halle Bailey as Ariel. Disney’s cartoon Ariel is a blue-eyed white girl with bright red hair, and Halle isn’t. Clearly they didn’t have the same strategy when choosing a Prince Eric. My guess is someone at Disney called in Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, pointed to an 11-inch Prince Eric doll, and said, “So how much magic wand power would it take to make that thing life-size?”
I was already mad that I had to push way too many buttons on my remote control trying to pull up The Wonderful World Of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live! on my DVR (I should only have had to type “the lit” before it popped up but that long ass title had it buried unda da mother fucking sea). That pretty much set the tone for my entire viewing experience. We knew from the teaser trailer that we were in for a low-budget cash grab, but whooah boy. Shaggy phoning it in as Sebastian, the alleged crab-looking Eddie Murphy in Delirious meets Edward Scissorhands drag, was not something I was prepared for. Thank The Gods for Queen Latifah because her Ursula the Sea Witch was the only life form in all of Atlantica that didn’t look like it was about to expire from eating too many plastic bags.
So this is the live The Little Mermaid, not the one which is featuring a black Ariel and making racist people furious online. Although this one’s budget infuriates me. But I guess they splurged on Queen Latifah and had to cut corners on the marketing budget. This is a televised concert of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, which will also star Shaggy as Sebastian, so I can’t wait to see him and a lady crab bangin’ on the ocean floor.