Last week, Disney announced the casting for Ariel as Halle Bailey, who is beautiful, talented, an incredible singer, and also black.
Naturally, I was psyched. She looks great, we know she’s going to do an incredible job, and now we have a non-white Disney princess who’s race isn’t an integral part of the plot. *heart eyes.*
Of course, racists took exactly 0.1 seconds to ruin this for the rest of us. People came out in droves crying “not my Ariel!” literally just because she was black. Like, that’s the only reason. Just in case it hasn’t been clear enough – it’s straight up racist to come up with every reason under the sun to not have a black Ariel. Plus, none of the hate against Halle is even legitimate. But we’ll get to that in a sec.
Freeform, the Disney owned channel that airs Grown-ish which Halle Bailey is in, released a statement shutting down a lot of the haters. And honestly? It’s goddamn beautiful.
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One of the very flimsy straws that racists were desperately trying to grasp to justify their hate was “Ariel can’t be black because The Little Mermaid was set in Denmark.” I have so many things I could say against that, but Freeform already did it better, and they called Triton a zaddy while doing it. Which is just impressive in general. What they’re saying is honestly what any reasonable person would say – she’s literally a fictional fish who lives in a magical sea kingdom. Why the fuck are we debating her Denmark heritage when it literally has nothing to do with the story. And now Freeform has inspired me to debunk anti-black Ariel hate because y’all are just wrong.
Black People Aren’t Limited To Black Countries
Here’s the thing that people don’t understand. Black people can and do literally exist anywhere. Just like white people. Because they’re people. They’re not fucking dragons or unicorns, or some kind of no-flight native bird. I don’t know where this idea of constantly derailing conversations about POC representation by saying we just don’t exist in those areas came from. It’s just straight up factually incorrect. I’ve written about this before. It’s also funny when you point out that, actually, since a lot of older white nations traded and sold POC around the world, a large part of why we are everywhere is because of white racists. But nevermind that.
None of that even matters because Ariel is a goddamn mermaid. She’s literally not part of the human race! She’s basically a fish! I certainly don’t think it’s useful to track black migration around the world to justify a fucking black mermaid who’s apparently from Denmark. And also, I don’t recall these racists crying “white erasure” when they were thirsting over Jason Mamoa playing a non-white Aquaman. It’s almost like POC are only acceptable when they’re sexualised to the point of being an object for viewing pleasure.
And just when you thought people couldn’t reach any harder, they surprise you again with quite frankly the stupidest argument I have heard against Halle Bailey.
Whoever Started The ‘Fish Are White’ Thing – Just Stop
Yes. We’ve reached an era in human evolution where dummies are now trying to use science to justify why mermaids cannot be black. What a time to be alive.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but isnt 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..?
— mehki (@mekurrr) 4 July 2019
Oh wow, I can’t believe Disney wouldn’t foresee this. How scientifically inaccurate of them, to have talking fish and lobsters and an evil sea witch who steals voices and an actual fictional mermaid that swaps her tail for legs. Clearly this is a huge flaw in their scientific accuracy.
I just can’t believe I had to read this with my own two science-minor eyes.
I have said it once and I will say it again. Mermaids 👏🏽 aren’t 👏🏽 real 👏🏽. And even then – there are literally brown/black/grey/any dark colour fish that exist in the ocean. Do I need to include a link to dark coloured fish?! Or whales? Do we need to go there?!
— duke (@dkkhri) 5 July 2019
And Lastly – She Can Be Black And Have Red Hair Guys
It’s 2019 people, we live in the future and anything is possible. Like, dyeing hair red. Or wearing a wig. Or even CGI-ing hair. Don’t panic. Breathe. It’s like these people have never gone outside. Does no one else remember in 2014 when literally every girl of every colour was sporting red hair?! I certainly do. It really will not be an issue at all. Plus, as iconic as we think Ariel’s hair is – it was only bright red because that movie was made in the 80’s and that’s basically the era of crazy hair. Chill. And besides – if Aquaman could have Mera’s godawful eye-watering two-dollar store looking red wig, I’m sure Disney will figure out something.
Image Sources: Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Films, Disney, Twitter @mekurrr, @dkkhri, @Sensual_Maiden, GIPHY. Feature image: Twitter @alicexz