Disney’s Freeform clapped back at the “poor, unfortunate souls” criticizing Halle Bailey’s Ariel casting
On July 3rd, after months of fan speculation and anticipation, news broke that Chloe x Halle singer Halle Bailey will play Ariel in the upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. The announcement sparked excitement and inspired fan art from those happy to see a black actress take on the iconic Disney role. Sadly, though, there were also a fair number of trolls who argued that Ariel shouldn’t be black. It wasn’t long before others stepped in to defend Bailey—including the Disney-owned TV channel Freeform.
In a July 7th Instagram post, Freeform shared an open letter to the “Poor, Unfortunate Souls” who opposed Bailey’s casting. The channel expertly shut down several of the most common complaints about a black Ariel, including the fact that the author of the original fairy tale, Hans Christian Andersen, was Danish and that mermaids live too far below the ocean’s surface to have dark skin (really?). The letter began by pointing out that Ariel “can legit swim wherever she wants” before pointing out that even if Ariel was Danish, that was no reason why she couldn’t also be black.
"Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black," the letter read. "Ariel can sneak up to the surface at any time with her pals Scuttle and the *ahem* Jamaican crab Sebastian (sorry, Flounder!) and keep that bronze base tight. Black Danish people, and thus mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair."
Freeform’s watertight defense didn’t end there, though. The channel concluded its letter by stressing that “the character of Ariel is a work of fiction.”
"So after all this is said and done, and you still cannot get past the idea that choosing the incredible, sensational, highly-talented, gorgeous Halle Bailey is anything other than the INSPIRED casting that it is because she 'doesn't look like the cartoon one,' oh boy, do I have some news for you...about you," the letter ended.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. With so many white characters on TV and in movies, it’s about time we had more mainstream representation. We can’t wait to see Bailey’s take on this classic Disney princess.