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‘Representation always mattered, even in fantasy stories’: Halle Bailey Fans Defend The Little Mermaid Against Renewed Backlash, Claim Diversity is Needed Even in Folktales

halle bailey the little mermaid

Halle Bailey’s casting as Ariel in The Little Mermaid is undoubtedly a revolutionary step taken by Disney. But as it looks, the reception is quite contrary to the expectations. With the teaser reportedly attracting around 1.5 million dislikes, talks are there that Disney has deleted various hate comments to the actress. Fortunately, several fans of Halle Bailey are wholeheartedly supporting the movie. These fans have shared that Disney was always diverse and they even had a black mermaid in the 90s.

Halle Bailey
The Little Mermaid (2023) starring Halle Bailey

Disney’s live-action remakes are always criticized as major cash grabs. After the failure of the recently released Pinocchio, it was hoped that The Little Mermaid may undo some damage but undoubtedly the House of the Mouse is having a tough time now.   

Also Read: “Lady’s a fish, best friend’s a talking crab…and people are mad she’s black?”: Wonder Woman Actor Lynda Carter Slams The Little Mermaid Trolls Over Absurd Outrage

The representation mania is not sudden

Since the first day, it was announced that Halle Bailey will lead The Little Mermaid project, the actress and the movie had to face a lot of distaste from the fans. 

Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid.
Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid.

On one hand, a certain section of the audience claimed that the transition of the skin color is unfair due to the origin story being hampered. While on the other hand, some true fans are constantly defending the movies and the actress from backlash by showing proof that the representation trend is not new. 

The fans are correct in this case as the 1992 series on the fictional world of Ariel and Atlantis featured a Black Mermaid Gabriella who was also deaf and used sign language to converse. The fans took over the internet to prove that this is enough and a piece of concrete evidence that Disney always focused on diversity and representation. It is not sudden and it is equally important in Fairy tales. 

Also Read: ‘Just sobbed watching this’: Halle Bailey Tears up After New Video Shows The Little Mermaid Teaser Inspiring Young Black Girls to Become Disney Princesses

Who was Gabriella?

The disapproval of Halle Bailey as The Little Mermaid has also led to the creation of #NotMyAriel. The fans have now seemed to have their hands on something that can counter the hate comments very well. 

Gabriella The Black Mermaid
Gabriella and Ariel

In the series of The Little Mermaid, Gabriella was a deaf mermaid who was a very good friend of Ariel and had a dark complexion. She also used American Sign Language to converse. Reportedly, the character was introduced so that every child could relate to it and understand that in front of talent and skill, skin color stands nowhere. 

Also Read: “Why did they make The Little Mermaid so gloomy?”: Fans Claim Disney Intentionally Screwed Up Halle Bailey Movie’s Color Tone So That People Will Hate It

Halle Bailey fans bash the haters

Lin-Manuel Miranda
Songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda will provide new soundtracks for The Little Mermaid

The fans of Halle Bailey took no time to address the issue on Twitter and shield the upcoming movie from hate. We have collected a series of Tweets which shows how much the fans love Halle Bailey and how much this diversity represented by Disney encouraged them and their kids.

It is to be remembered that Ariel’s skin color has nothing to do with the story. While some of the audience can argue that it is based on a Danish Fairy Tale, still there are many dissimilarities between the original tale and Disney’s animated story. So there shouldn’t be any complaints about creative liberty being utilized. Now it will be worth watching if the movie can be so good to tackle everything it’s facing now.

The Little Mermaid is going to hit the theaters on May 26, 2023

Source: Twitter

Written by Subham Mandal

Subham Mandal is currently working as a writer for FandomWire with an ardent interest in the world of pop culture. Subham has written more than 400 articles on different spheres of modern pop culture and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English based in Kolkata. He’s also an experienced student journalist having demonstrated work experience with the Times of India. He aspires to be a column writer in the future.