by Victoria McGraw
For many years, Disney has been known for having little to no diversity in its films. Then in 2009, they produced Tiana, The Princess, and the Frog and gradually added more divisive stories/cast later on and now their latest live-action remake is The Little Mermaid. The actor who is playing Ariel is Halle Bailey, a 22-year-old actress, and singer. This story has been around since the 1800s and over the years many people such as Disney visualize Ariel as a white, redhead mermaid, so naturally, people fall into that visualization. Unlike any other ironic movie, The Little Mermaid is not an original princess, it’s a fictional creature, therefore we can interpret Ariel as being of any type of race or demographic. And like many Disney remakes, there is a huge controversy over the trailer.
Others loved this trailer and are very excited to see it. And other people felt this trailer was awful, with millions of dislikes from angry “fans.” It started by someone on Twitter tweeted out a photoshopped picture of Ariel being a white, redhead, and assuring “fans” that this actor will be replaced with the “right” character before the release. Yes, we are still talking about a fictional character that lives under the sea and whose best friend is a crab. Of course, this created chaos around social media, and other fans brought up how Ariel is a literal fish. This is true.
Although these horrible actions of the “fans” created chaos on the internet. Parents have recorded their children’s reactions to coming to the realization that Ariel Halle Bailey represents them. It’s extremely uplifting and inspirational. Every single one of them felt loved, you could see it on their faces. Representation is extremely important for the youth especially children of different ethnicities and nationalities. It helps children feel inspired to discover other cultures and gives them the opportunity to develop respect for cultural differences. When children see representation in books and movies it plays a role in their child development and growth. This movie comes out May 26, 2023, with many children and parents very excited to see it in the theaters.