Ever since the casting of Halley Bailey as Ariel in the live adaptation of Disney’s The Little Mermaid was announced, a particular spectrum of audiences has expressed their disdain nonstop. The unnecessary bandwagon of hate was started in 2019 and has unfortunately continued ever since. Matters reached a deplorable peak when the first official teaser trailer for the endeavor was unveiled at the D23 Expo.
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Now, after the release of an official poster for the film, the Internet has decided to take a supportive stance for Bailey, banding together in her defense, following months of discourse that carried on over the subject of “forced inclusivity” and “woke culture.” Needless to say, the stupendous appreciation has overpowered the rather unwarranted, obscure backlash.
Why Is The Little Mermaid Live Adaptation Receiving Backlash?
As mentioned, it all mostly started in 2019 when Halle Bailey was announced as the new Ariel. The problem that certain people had with the casting choice stemmed from a rather prejudiced conception where they couldn’t accept a Black woman portraying the role of a white-skinned character. Many felt that it was doing an “injustice” to the source material, to what has always been the standard.
When Danish author Hans Christian Andersen wrote the original story, the aim was to present a layered, thought-provoking tale.
Ariel, in the 1837 premise, represented a paradoxical, tragic, bittersweet fate. In Disney’s retelling, we were rewarded with an ending that deviated from the source material and gave us a much happier conclusion. In both iterations, which had several drastic differences, we’ve been given a variety of food for thought. In the grand scheme of things, what moves the audience is the story, the narrative, and what one has to express through a form of art.
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With that in mind, the question of who should portray the mermaid remains irrelevant. Fairy tales have existed and cemented themselves in widespread popular culture due to their constant retelling. Each generation has a different version to present, a newer story to tell, with a more prominent message every time.
Therefore, to have Halle Bailey represent Ariel in 2023’s The Little Mermaid, does not strip away the connotations of the earlier versions but it does allow space for fresh stories to be told, more faces to be represented, and creative freedom to surpass what is considered a norm.
To see the hate persist, despite art and fiction unceasingly evolving after years of creating archetypes and deconstructing them, is rather disheartening. While some of the criticism is justifiable, having turned to point at a gloomy, dreary, bleak atmosphere in the official teaser trailer, others’ disliking transcended beyond constructive feedback and felt seemingly never-ending. That is where the discourse started getting concerning.
However, that has changed. The Internet has united to voice their support for The Little Mermaid star Halle Bailey against the audiences who, besides not wanting to claim her iteration of Ariel as an authentic one, have also at times stooped to disturbing levels with their undignified expressions of prejudice.
Fans Support Halle Bailey Despite Recurring Debates
The official Twitter account for the film unveiled the poster for the Halle Bailey-starrer with a fitting caption, “Halle Bailey is Ariel.” While others have been quick to rejoice, some can’t let go of their old habits. It’s been more than a month since the debate began. It has continued without an end despite several celebrities and eminent figures, including the voice actress for Ariel in the 1989 Disney animated movie, expressing their appreciation.
While the disapproval has found its home in the hearts of many, the love remains stronger than ever, thankfully. Fans were quick to uplift the endeavor and the talent involved. Despite several unpleasant comments underneath the original tweet, the admiration continues to mark a slow, but a steady end to the recurring discourse.
Take a look:
HALLE'S MY ARIEL! pic.twitter.com/Onp4hfLogW
— mandy (@BattinsonMarvel) October 13, 2022
give halle all them oscar’s
— alien superstar (@yoooooitsfil) October 13, 2022
Halle Bailey is Ariel and no one can change that!
— hunty (@huntys_pov) October 13, 2022
Read also: The Little Mermaid: People Got So Insulted With a Black Actor Playing Ariel That They Used AI To Turn Halle Bailey White
halle best ariel pic.twitter.com/iv33U0qxEf
— @ (@MANIMONEYU) October 13, 2022
@HALLEBAILEY IS STUNNING. PERIOD. 🧜🏾♀️
— jacob rivera-sanchez (@jacobrivsan) October 13, 2022
WE WILL BE SEATED pic.twitter.com/76hhpEqMeH
— larry 🧜🏽♀️ (@itslarr7) October 13, 2022
By hailing Halle Bailey as the definitive Ariel of the present generation, the supportive masses are putting a nail in the coffin of the incessant hate. While certain few keep parading across the Internet with the age-old discourse and statements like, “Not my Ariel,” the talented singer and actress is gearing up to showcase her embodiment of the mermaid princess. There’s no stopping now – irrespective of whether one likes her portrayal or despises it.
Halle Bailey’s Ariel is here to stay.
The Little Mermaid will release on 26 May 2023.