Halle Bailey to Play Ariel in "The Little Mermaid": Here's Why I'm Disappointed in People's Reactions to the Casting by Melissa Hurt

Opinion Headlines
3 years ago
Halle Bailey to Play Ariel in "The Little Mermaid": Here's Why I'm Disappointed in People's Reactions to the Casting

I can't believe people are freaking out about Disney casting Halle Bailey, an African-American singer/actress, as Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. I don't know this woman's work, but I am certain she has the talent to pull it off.

But, they aren't upset due to any concern about her capacity to embody the role – it's just the color of her skin. That's it. This woman is gorgeous with a smile that could light up the depths of the Caspian Sea and they're losing it.

To be clear: Hans Christian Anderson, the original author of the tale Disney adapted, is Danish. Thus, some assume Ariel is meant to be Caucasian. But, really, all we know is she's a mermaid – part girl, part fish. Disney adapted his tale into the massively popular animated film in 1989. Every Disney adaptation tends to be quite generous from the original tale. That is the movie/story they are adapting to live-action. In no way does the text of the Disney tale specify Ariel's skin is dark or light. The only thing Disney reveals about her is the beauty and power of her singing voice.

Disney's job is to cast the best young woman who has the kind of voice that inspires Ursula's evil. The actress has to tell us the story of a spunky free-spirited mermaid who aches for Prince Eric. She needs to make us laugh when she awkwardly finds her legs and learns about life on land with Eric. She's dynamic, tender and complex. I am certain Disney looked at and auditioned a thousand young women for this role. (I know a woman who was considered for another live-action Disney movie and her audition process was vigorous and long. They take their casting very seriously!)

Congratulations, Halle Bailey!!!! You must have knocked it all out of the park to get cast! I can't wait to see this film and watch this young woman kill it.

Who's with me? Let's fill the theaters opening weekend. Let's prove to the industry and popular culture that we celebrate talent and are not limited to how an actor looks to enjoy a performance!

What do you think? Share your thoughts below. 

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Elisa Schmitz, 30Seconds
So well said, Melissa Hurt ! I know Disney well, and talent wins out every time. I am so excited to see this movie, and proud of this young woman (who I had not heard of before this). I hope as more stereotypes are broken, people will see color less and talent more. Thank you for sharing!
Right there with you.
Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP
My little cousin auditioned and was one of the top 5 actresses for young Elsa for the Broadway Disney show Frozen. She went through a very vigorous audition process that was months long only to not get it because of her age, but her talent was perfect for the role. Disney doesn't mess around and only picks the best so I am so very excited to see this new Little Mermaid movie!
Dawn Taylor
So sad that this is even a thought. Times are certainly NOT changing it seems.

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