Anna Sheffer
July 08, 2019 8:10 am

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 MermaidThe 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.

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.”

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.

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