So, White Twitter has been in a complete meltdown these past few days…
If you didn’t know, Disney’s just recently announced that Halle Bailey will star as the lead role, Ariel, in their live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
dream come true… 🧜🏽♀️🌊 https://t.co/sndjYUS6wO—
chloe x halle (@chloexhalle) July 03, 2019
Of course, right on time, the white tears began to fall from the heavens like a fucking white tsunami.
Twitter was littered with wypipo like Paola & Heidi venting, and rage tweeting their frustrations about Disney casting a black woman to play the role of an imaginary fish-girl…
*Sidenote* #NotMyAriel trending during the 4th of July, a time when America celebrates its independence, freedom, and so-called equality, only highlights America’s profound hypocrisy but I digress…
Wypipo who truly believe in this whole, #NotMyAriel movement I have one thing to say to you.
Stop playin’ bruh
You Tried It Tho’
Y’all wypipo really tried it tho. Apparently, casting Ariel as a black mermaid is the equivalent of, IDK, whitewashing 400 years of brutality and systematic oppression.
At least that’s the case according to White Twitter right now…
Having a black Ariel is just the latest form of oppression wypipo are struggling to cope with. No worries though, I’m here for all of the smoke.
A lil’ Little Mermaid History for ya’
Iight so for the record, Paola is correct when she said Disney based their 1989 film The Little Mermaid, off of the FAIRYTALE book “The Little Mermaid” written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.
In fact, Hans Christian Andersen even mentions Ariel’s appearance right off the jump.
“They were six beautiful children; but the youngest was the prettiest of them all; her skin was as clear and delicate as a rose-leaf, and her eyes as blue as the deepest sea; but, like all the others, she had no feet, and her body ended in a fish’s tail.
– The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen (1836)
So what a minute.
If Disney based their 1989 film The Little Mermaid off of Hans Christian’s original The Little Mermaid fairytale story shouldn’t we be upset that they’re changing her appearance for the live-action remake?
In fact, we should encourage it. Why? Because positive representations of black bodies is one of the most powerful weapons we can use in the fight against White Supremacy.
Let me explain…
The Power of Representation
Living in America we’re used to seeing Kings, Queens, Prince and Princes all played by white people as if it was almost by default or some shit. On the flip side of that, we rarely see positive images of black people, let alone, images of Black Kings, Queens, etc.
Controlling images has a profound effect not just on our culture and society as a whole, but it also has major effects on the black mind itself.
When the media constantly portrays you, and people who look like you, as criminals, gangbangers, drug dealers, thugs, and murders it doesn’t take long for the mind to internalize those messages creating a mental trap.
One way America can counter this effect is by creating more films and TV shows that show black people in positions of power as well as normal everyday human begins.
Plus I think Disney is due for another black princess any damn way.
For more information about black trauma and the effects of internalized racism check out some of my recent pieces:
- Black Trauma
- Dismantling Internalized Racism Part I: Recognizing The Problem
- Dismantling Internalized Racism Part II: The Inner Dimension
White Supremacy & New Racism
In the two tweets I pulled for #NotMyAriel examples, you’ll notice they both revolve around the same ideology, White Supremacy.
And to support this ideology of White Supremacy, these mfs have come up with clever and deceptive ways to argue their case.
Ariel has always been white, so changing her appearance for a live-action remake would be;
- Unrealistic (even though The Little Mermaid isn’t a real person nor was it something that happened in real life)
- Making Ariel black instead of white is some form of cultural appropriation (which is easily the silliest shit I’ve heard in a minute)
I’m currently working on a piece centered around White Supremacy and New Racism so I’ll save my argument as to how these beliefs tie into White Supermacy and New Racism for then. Until now, check out this clip from Robin Diangelo that shows how comments like these support the ideology and White Supremacy.
It’s All Fake Any Fucking Way
All the arguments I heard in support of the hashtag #NotMyAriel are all complete bull shit, because of one simple fact.
The Little Mermaid, regardless of what version you’re thinking of, is fake.
It’s all made up. All of it.
Atlantica isn’t a real place, nor are mermaids real creatures.
IT’S ALL FAKE.
Ariel is a cartoon character, at best, a fairytale princess. Which means she isn’t real, so she can be whatever the fuck color Disney wants her to be, just like she was whatever color Hans Christian Andersen wanted her to be.
I mean Ursula was fucking purple bruh, so I mean that quite literally.
But on a serious note, I really didn’t want to spend any energy on this goofy-ass argument. In fact, I was going to let wypipo slide on this shit until I noticed too many people on my timeline agreeing with the bull shit.
So here we are…
Wanna Play Games? Iight, Let’s Play Then
Since y’all wanna play the appropriation game and act as if a black Ariel is somehow, culturally offensive, let’s play.
Yeah, a Danish white man named Hans Christian Andersen wrote the original Little Mermaid, but where did that inspiration come from? Where does the idea of mermaids, and Sea Kings come from?
Naturally, you’d probably guess Ancient Greek Mythology, which isn’t technically wrong but isn’t correct either. Greek Mythology itself was inspired directly and indirectly by African culture and African Mythology.
One could easy say Ariel and all other mermaids are knock offs of the West African Goddess Yemayá, one of 7 Orishas.
I could also make the case that King Triton himself is nothing but a poor man’s imitation of Olokun, revered as the ruler of all bodies of water and for the authority over other water deities.
But most people aren’t ready for that conversation, nor do I have the time to teach them all the ways in which Africa has shaped the world we now know today.
Keep It Pushin’
All in all, if you’re upset about a black woman playing Ariel in Disney new live-action remake then stay yo ass at home. Also, please keep using the hashtag #NotMyAriel so I know who I need to unfollow 🙂
I find the outrage surrounding The Little Mermaid (as well as all the other outrages in the past few years with Black people playing lead roles ‘made for white people’) completely laughable; pretty much for all the reasons you described. And people love to fall back on the “But what if we made [insert character] white?! Wouldn’t that be wronggg???” What these people fail to realize is that character such as Mulan, Pocahontas (both the real version and Disney version), and other characters of color are that the majority of the time, the storyline was directly correlated to their culture/race. Why can’t MLK be portrayed by a White man in a biopic? Because his entire struggle and cause were centered around his race. Why can’t a white lady be Pocahontas? Because her people’s struggle and the entire storyline is based around the fact that they were being persecuted for being ‘different’ from the colonizers. Meanwhile, Ariel is a fictional/mythical creature and the storyline is not based on her supposed whiteness. It is centered around a girl who wants more out of life and wants to satisfy her own curiosity. Her race, culture, ethnicity does not play a factor in the storyline so the character can literally be played by ANYBODY. The fact that any of this has to be explained is plain sad.
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👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 I need you as a guest writer spitting these facts!
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Omfg when i saw this blow up on social media i rolled my eyes so hard lmao. Ariel is a fucking fish, her race isn’t even relevant to the story. I’m glad we’re seeing a black girl being casted for ariel. I’m bored of seeing the same old yt, pasty princess. It’s time for some spice! Haha.
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Thanks for reading and it’s been time for some spice!!
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