After Disney announced that 19-year-old singer Halle Bailey had been cast as Ariel in the upcoming live-action version of the classic The Little Mermaid, Disney’s Freeform channel has released a statement defending the young star after backlash over the casting.
“Yes. The original author of The Little Mermaid was Danish. Ariel…is a mermaid. She lives in an underwater kingdom in international waters and can legit swim wherever she wants (even though that often upsets King Triton, absolute zaddy),” the post states. “But for the sake of argument, let’s say that Ariel, too, is Danish. Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black. Ariel can sneak up to the surface at any time with her pals Scuttle and the *ahem* Jamaican crab Sebastian (sorry, Flounder!) and keep that bronze base tight. Black Danish people, and this mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair.”
“But spoiler alert – bring it back to the top – the character of Ariel is a work of fiction,” the post adds. “So after all this is said and done, and you still cannot get past the idea that choosing the incredible, sensational, highly-talented, gorgeous Halle Bailey is anything other than the INSPIRED casting that it is because she ‘doesn’t look like the cartoon one,’ oh boy, do I have some news for you…about you.”
While there has been some backlash because of the singer’s race, there has also been a lot of support for Bailey stepping into the big role.
“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,” actress Halle Berry wrote to Halle Bailey.