The trailer for the new Little Mermaid film has recently been released, and it is facing a lot of criticism. You might ask, “Why is a children's movie getting so much backlash from adults?” This can be answered with one simple fact: Ariel is Black.
We all know the story of the Little Mermaid: a mermaid wants to go on land even though her father forbids it. She ends up selling her voice to a sea witch and finding true love on land. Ariel lives happily ever after and the story ends. One thing you might notice is that race was never mentioned. Yes, Ariel was portrayed as white in the animated film, but it is not part of her core character. The new Ariel will still have her happily ever after with her prince. So what are people so pressed about?
Ariel is being played by the absolute goddess, Halle Bailey. She was born for this role and deserves all the love in the world. But instead, she has been hit with a massive wave of blatant discrimination and racism. In fact, the trailer has received 1.5 million dislikes on Youtube. It is outrageous that people can be filled with so much hate and disdain for a 1 minute and 24 second long video just because the only person shown on screen is Black. I have seen such horrible things said about this movie, and it hasn’t even come out yet! This is ironic because the movie looks beautiful and exquisite.
There have been 13 Disney princesses. Out of those 13, there have been 6 BIPOC princesses and 1 Black princess. Such little representation can be harmful to children. When kids are watching television, they deserve to see someone that looks like them. White children get that luxury, but BIPOC children do not, especially Black children. Having a Black Ariel on screen is revolutionary to the “Representation Matters” movement. Parents on social media have been recording and posting their children's reactions to the trailer. It has been overwhelmingly positive. These children's reactions really show what representation can do for kids.
At the end of the day, representation is necessary. There has always been a need for it, now more than ever. This movie looks amazing, and it gives the representation necessary to help Black children grow up knowing that anything is possible. If you can really find a problem with that, there’s no helping you.