Disney Live-Action Fan Culture

Calm The F*** Down, People! Why People Can’t Accept The New Ariel

Halle Bailey; Ariel

In recent weeks, Disney announced the first cast member for the updated, live-action retelling of The Little Mermaid in the form of Halle Bailey, one-half of the sister singing duo, Chloe x Halle. While some people were supportive, others weren’t as forgiving…

Casting unknowns isn’t unusual for Disney’s recent slew of live-action remakes. Mena Massoud’s portrayal of Aladdin was a huge hit with fans of the 1992 animated film, which starred Robin Williams as the voice of the Genie.

When the announcement came Halle Bailey had been cast as Ariel in Rob Marshall’s upcoming remake of The Little Mermaid, people displayed surprise. Bailey only has two television acting credits.

What’s The Issue?

We have no issues with a black girl in the role of Ariel. It’s a nice break from the white Disney Princesses the latest few remakes have given us. Belle. Jasmine. Cinderella. However, some people can’t get over a white character having a different skin tone.

It’s not fair to judge someone who is known as a singer, but not as an actor. Taylor Swift was cast by the late Garry Marshall in his flick Valentine’s Day and had no acting experience.

Also, it’s not fair to judge someone who is not the ‘correct’ skin colour. It’s like when Candice Patton got cast as Iris West (later West-Allen) in 2014’s The Flash television series. The racists of the fanbase threw tantrums because the character who is traditionally white with red hair was being played by a black woman.

Can’t Accept Change

Fans are often stuck in their ways. They envision someone in a particular role which is understandable, but what they cannot grasp is defeat. So what if your favorite actor isn’t cast in the role? Because they appear the part doesn’t mean they’ll do a great job. The casting directors who scout for cast members wouldn’t recruit an actor if they didn’t think they’re right for the role.

For Halle Bailey, people should be more open-minded. Rob Marshall has directed some spectacular musicals over the years. Look at the success of Mary Poppins Returns and Chicago. Someone who will throw a tantrum because they don’t like what is being done to their favorite projects.

Either way, no one will be happy, regardless. That doesn’t give them the right to troll the chosen individual to the point they drop out of the role.  It’s not right. People have gone after people than second-guessed their original comments when their target becomes a massive hit.

It’s Time For Change

If the DC Arrowverse can cast an African-American woman as a white character like Iris West-Allen, Disney should be allowed to do the same. Brandy played Cinderella in The Wonderful World of Disney. No one complained, but they complain with Halle?

We can tell you now that changing ethnicity and whitewashing are two different things.

 According to The Edge, Whitewashing is when a traditionally diverse character is played by a white actor. 

For example, Son Goku in Dragonball: Evolution is played by a white actor, despite the character being of Asian descent.

Another example is when Guy Ritchie was accused of whitewashing extras in his musical film debut, Aladdin by having them apply body paint.

When it comes to casting a diverse actor in place of a white one, its not whitewashing, blackface or yellowface. There’s nothing wrong with changing the ethnicity of a character. It gives the chance for different cultured performers to breathe new life into a character.


People need to calm down about Halle’s casting as Ariel. It’s all about understanding the reasons why she got cast over an actress who is white and a natural redhead. We think she’ll make a great Ariel.

What do you think about Halle’s casting? Let us know below! Also, be sure to subscribe to the blog and click the bell for more fan culture content!

About Author

C.J. Hawkings has written for the now-defunct Entertainment website, Movie Pilot and the still functioning WhatCulture and ScreenRant. She now writes for FanSided and is loving it!

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