Disney hasn’t always been inclusive when choosing and creating characters for their movies.
We know most of their cartoon movies specifically Disney princess movies have all featured a white female of male character leads. We all grew up watching these movies and loving them as kids. The first disney princes film was adapted in 1937 when Snow White was released. Most movies back then were based on fairy tails.
We were just recently introduced to characters of different races recently when Disney’s Pocahontas was released in 1995. Milan in 1998, and then in 2009 The Princess and the Frog was released, featuring an African American girl as the lead character.
For decades movies from major companies like Disney almost never feature a minority as the lead. We have accepted this and enjoyed the work by the company anyway.
We have become so accustomed to characters always being Caucasian in these films that we never second guess it.
We are now moving to a era where movies are being more inclusive with their characters. Including LGBTQ characters and characters of different races in mainstream Hollywood.
Movies with a majority all African American cast like Marvel’s “Black Panther” proved that an all-black cast can work from a major movie company just as well as movies with an all-white cast and they have the box office numbers to prove it.
Recently an African American female singer/ Actress Hallie Bailey was chosen to star as Ariel for the live action Disney’s The Little Mermaid film, which is supposed to begin filming sometime in 2020.
We know that Ariel was originally a “white” character in the animated movies and TV shows. However a mermaid is a mythical creature, not actually tied to any race of people, therefor can be race-bent to suit the needs of the director and the direction he or she wants the film to go.
Director Rob Marshall said in a statement, “After and extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance plus a glorious singing voice. All the intrinic qualities necessary to play this iconic role. After meeting with talent for the past few months, it was clear that Halle was the front runner from the beginning”
The animated film of The Little Mermaid took place in the Caribbean, and Ariel is the most favorable character out of all the Disney princesses.
While this news came as a big surprise, not only to the Halle but to the rest of the world, with many people supporting this choice.
However since this news has come to be the most talked about topic on Twitter this week, it also came with backlash.
People have taken to twitter saying that “Ariel shouldn’t be a black girl”, “Why are y’all changing everything?” “This is so stupid, the movie will be trash” “Black girls don’t even like getting their hair wet” and the famous line “I’m not racist but…” comments plagued the Twitter-verse.
Then you have people supporting the choose, including the likes of Halle Berry, Zendaya, and a group of other celebrities applauding the choice.
This was a bold choice to race-bend such an iconic character. The cast choices for films are usually made by the director, and so it was the directors decision to choose Bailey for the lead role.
A quick history on Bailey, she was discovered by Beyoncé and signed to Beyoncé’s record label, both her and her sister Chloe after they started making YouTube videos of themselves covering songs. The sisters have since then been on TV shows, and are currently series regulars on the hit Freeform show “Grown’ish”.
Bailey will be joining Jacob Tremblay (Room), Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians), and Melissa McCarthy who is still in talks to play Ursula.
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