Halle Bailey, of Chloe X Halle, has been cast as Ariel in the upcoming live-action adaptation of Disneys The Little Mermaid and a lot of people have their knickers in a twist because she is black.
Here we go again.
I first saw the news while watching Love Island and had to pause it to make sure it wasnt a hoax. I mumbled something about Halle being able to pull off Ariels signature red hair to myself and kept it moving because that was my only concern.
As expected, people have been showing their ignorance while trying to prove why a talented 19-year-old black woman – she is backed by Beyonce so what more proof do you need? – has no business playing a fictional character.
While one corner of the internet praise-danced all over the timeline at the progressive casting, some social media users seriously tiptoed around the celebrations to nitpick.
Just admit that you dont want black women cast in lead roles with your chest, rather than hide behind silly questions because this is no way the same as complaints about white women playing real-life historical characters. Id understand all this noise if Will Smith just announced that he was proud to be cast as the Queens father. But, no.
I had spotted my favourite take on the topic and within a split second, I concluded that second-hand embarrassment might actually be as bad as piping hot outrage.
A Twitter user began a debate by writing: Correct me if Im 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..?
Ill think it through for you, dear friend. For starters, I myself was born black, and there was no sun in my mothers womb yet somehow I still managed to produce a lot of melanin while born in the winter.
And if we are going to pretend like the Little Mermaid is in any way as realistic as a David Attenborough documentary, I think we should be more concerned with how Ariel/Halle will manage to breathe underwater.
How will her lungs produce the oxygen she needs to stay alive? Will she die before she can even deliver her first line? What if she drowns before even meeting Prince Eric. So many questions.
Why is her skin tone the issue here while accepting a crab with a Caribbean accent, a squid with a fetish for stealing voices and a seagull that brushes its hair with a fork is all of a sudden realistic enough.
My colleague even righty pointed out that the king of the sea demands concerts when sound travels badly through the water. I mean, can we talk about that ….
Of course, this is not the first time a black woman has been cast as the lead for a live-action adaptation of a popular fairytale movie.
Rodgers & Hammersteins Cinderella, produced by and starring Whitney Houston, shows Brandy play the lead in the 1997 remake that features a cast so racially diverse Whoopi Goldberg plays the mother of the Asian prince.
That movie came out just fine over 20 years ago – so I doubt Little Mermaid will suffer because they picked a highly melaninated young lady to swim underwater with some talking fishes.