After the recent controversy over the casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel in the Disney live action de The little Mermaid, let's clarify the question: why is a black Ariel good?

This article was written by four hands by Ester Manzini and Gloria Comandini!

And here we are again talking about "race-bending", when finally the first photos of The Witcher have finally buried the hysteria about rumor about Ciri black. This time, however, the crawl space was raised by Disney.

Live action de The little Mermaid: a bit of information!

As you well know, a live action film de has recently been announced The little Mermaid, which will start production in 2020. At the moment, we are at the ninth Disney live action (you read our review su Aladdin?) is The Little Mermaid it should be the fifteenth to go out.

As a director, it was announced Bob marshall (Mary Poppins Returns, Chicago, Into the WoodsPirati dei Caraibi 4). The music, however, will consist of both the original soundtrack of 1989 and new songs written by Alan Menken e Lin-Manuel Mirandto. Note that Alan Menken, in addition to being the composer of the original soundtrack de The little Mermaid, is also a sacred monster that has won 8 oscars.

As for the cast of actors, very few roles have been announced at the moment. Of course, we will have Melissa McCarthy (A mother for a friend, The friends of the bride) in the role of Ursula, while for the Flounder fish and the Scuttle seagull, we will have respectively the voices di Jacob Tremblay (Room) is Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians).

Finally, the lead actress was recently announced, who will play Ariel: the singer Halle bailey, become famous in recent years with his sister Chloe. And if on quality of his voice there is very little to say, as Bailey sings very well, many fans of the old cartoon had a problem: Halle Bailey is black. And then he will play a black Ariel, where the animated Ariel was white and with red hair.

Now, let's take a quick look at the major criticisms this casting has raised, and then show how, in reality, to have Ariel black for the live action de The little Mermaid don't change a comma of the story.

Halle bailey
Halle bailey

The biggest criticisms of black Ariel

In the world of "I am not a racist, BUT" the melanin content is a source of outrage by longtime fans of the cartoon, who have not lost an opportunity to assert their opinions.

Because in short, a black Ariel cannot be seen. It makes no sense.

A roundup of example comments

Comment 1

It's not a matter of fear or racism. It's a matter of sticking to what Andersen wrote before it was designed by Disney

Comment 2

Ariel is cadaveric white because she cannot physically see the sunlight, being a siren. 
He has red hair in Disney iconography.
Point, stop. 
They made a vaccination by upsetting everything and it is embarrassing to read an article that indicates as racists, all those who would like a live action more adherent to the cartoon.

Comment 3

But it is not a question of racism, damn politically correct. If a character is a certain way, why do you have to twist him to show attention to certain themes? Holy shit, Pocahontas then let's make her blonde with blue eyes, and Mulan I want her a redhead without almond eyes. There is always time to invent new stories with new characters, who may be black, yellow, gay, lesbian, etc etc ... but what the fuck is the sense of upsetting the existing ones. Hypocrisy of do-gooders ...

Comment 4

Those who are fond of a certain film is normal who wants to see the same characters with a similar physical appearance in a live action
If it had been a generic movie about the Little Mermaid fairy tale it was fine, but since we talk about Ariel from Disney we had all other expectations

A question of knowledge of the original work and of consistency

The Little Mermaid is a story set in Denmark, and everyone is known to be white in Denmark. Furthermore, what reason could a dark complexion - even black, indeed - have at an evolutionary level! - for a creature that lives underwater? And then in short, what happened to respect? Ariel has always had red hair and white skin, what is this wave of progressism pushed hard down the throat of the spectators?

Of all the criticisms you could make about casting, the only incontrovertible, as blatantly personal, is "I don't like the actress, I thought I was different Ariel". You may disagree, you can explore the reasons behind such a statement, but it is a naked and raw opinion, and therefore it is worth what it is worth.

All other reasons are sadly wrong.

Halle Bailey as Ariel, imagined by Alice XZ
Halle Bailey like Ariel, imagined by Alice XZ

Black Ariel is fine because Disney's mermaids have nothing scientifically accurate

It makes no sense for a creature living underwater to have dark skin: Ariel is half a fish. This doesn't make sense either, yet nobody has formalized.

But going into more detail, on closer inspection, a marine creature has no reason to have red hair or blue eyes either. Let's fly over the abyssal fish and their jaws bristling with teeth, transparent skin and blind eyes, let's focus on something more "mammal": there are no red-haired seals and the cerulean eye.

There have been numerous debates on how it should be a "scientifically accurate" siren, and it is needless to point out that not only has an agreement never been reached, but also the proposed solutions are not similar to Disney's! Many artists have imagined various types of sirens, diversified according to habitat and living conditions. We can go from deep-sea sirens, bioluminescent and with expandable mouths full of teeth, to arctic ones, covered in a thick layer of grease to protect themselves from the cold.

In general, however, the design proposed by Disney in 1989 is not only one of the least interesting, but in turn has no accuracy, nor is it interested in having any! However, I hope that with this live action you will pay more attention to make the inhabitants of Atlantica interesting and varied.

Coral reefs and flamingos: so much Denmark! Image owned by Disney
Coral reefs and flamingos: so much Denmark! Image owned by Disney

Black Ariel is fine because The little Mermaid 1989 was not set in a real Denmark

Andersen's fairy tale is set in Denmark, but cardboard has little or nothing to do with the original material.

Going to comb the comment by the filmmakers to the cartoon of 1989, we discover this quote:

“That exterior of the palace Roland Wilson designed… uh, he was a great draftsman, he designed the prince's palace. He did a drawing that we loved that combined these sort of Mediterranean elements, uh, made it a palace unlike any other sort of Disney fairy tale palace, and uh, with the white-washed stucco, and was really going for a warm, southern Mediterranean feel that he thought would be attractive to a mermaid who had been stuck all her life in the cold ocean. " 

What does this mean? That The little Mermaid Disney has never been set in a historic Denmark, but has a strong inspiration from the southern Mediterranean, as suggested by the presence of coral reef and colorful fish. The North Sea isn't even remotely as colorful. THU you will also find an interesting examination of the location of The little Mermaid based on the fish shown in the animated film.

In general, there is a strong possibility that this live action is itself set in a warmer sea than in the North. THE Caraibiin this sense, they are highly rated and almost taken for granted by many commentators.

And anyway, for Andersen the point of La Sirenetta was not Ariel's nationality, but the fact that it was a tragic metaphor for his homosexuality
And anyway, for Andersen the point de The little Mermaid it was not Ariel's nationality, but the fact that it was a tragic metaphor for his homosexuality

Black Ariel is fine because The little Mermaid 1989 is remotely inspired by the story of Hans Christian Andersen

As we said a few paragraphs above, The little Mermaid Disney is alone loosely based on the Andersen fairy tale.

In the original story, in fact, there is no happy ending: the prince is yes attracted to Ariel, but he never falls in love with her, because she is unable to communicate his feelings to him. And rather than following the advice of the Witch of the Sea and killing him, thus breaking the spell that condemns her and returning to the sea, Ariel chooses to die, transforming herself into a sea foam.

In Ariel's mutism, the tale takes up the pain of Andersen, in love with a man to whom he can never confess his love. A painful, sad and beautiful fairy tale that does not have much of the colors and songs of the Disney version. The messages transmitted are different, and we can therefore speak of inspiration, not of transposition.

Adding this to the fact that the animated film was mostly inspired by the Mediterranean for its setting, continuing to oppose the casting of a black woman “because Ariel is Danish” doesn't make much sense. If you really wanted to be true to Hans Christian Andersen's story, one should shout aloud to re-propose silence as the metaphor of homosexuality, complete with a tragic ending (as they also pointed out Mr. Destroy e Immanuel Casto). The "danesity" of Ariel or of the setting here has relatively little to do with the original message of the story.

"Ariel is Danish" "ARIEL IS A SIREN'S FUCK !!!"
"Ariel is Danish" "ARIEL IS A SIREN'S FUCK !!!"

Black Ariel is fine because Atlantis is a fantasy place and Ariel is not tied to a real culture

In this light, Ariel's ethnicity is irrelevant. Ariel is indeed princess of Atlantic, an imaginary kingdom in its turn vaguely inspired by Atlantis. Atlantica does not exist, therefore one cannot speak of a "racial" correlation between character and plot.

At best, you can ask for that the casting is consistent and that Atlantica is multiethnic, with a Triton and Ariel's sisters in turn with dark skin.

The difference with Mulan e Pocahontas

So the various comments that thunder "and then let's do Pocahontas bianca !! 1UNO" fall into the void: the story of Pocahontas it is that of a Native American who clashes with the arrival of European colonialism. Making it white, or for what may also be Arabic or Korean, would distort the very premise of history.

Mulan? Not very different as a situation: the cardboard, on the contrary de The little Mermaid, resumes the setting in which the original character moves. And considering that the film was originally designed to target the Chinese market, modifying it would have been a suicide in terms of marketing.

The Princess and the Frog and universal fairy tales

Similarly, Tiana's story too The Princess and the Frog it is strongly linked to the black culture of the 20s. His own effort in setting up his dream restaurant is heavily inspired by black emancipation struggles in the United States. In many ways, Tiana's story shows how a classic fairy tale can be inserted into a different setting without distorting its meaning, since many of these fairy tales are universal. But if you can retransport the story of the princess and the frog in a white setting, the same cannot be said for the whole black culture which acts as a glue to the film.

And works like Mulan, Pocahontas, Hercules e Moana they are not universal fables; The beauty and the Beast, Cinderella e snow-white they are universal fables. Hamlet, which inspired The Lion King, it is universal. And also The little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen is universal, as far as it matters.

The myth of Atlantis: a miscellany of interpretations

Regarding the myth of Atlantis, at most it is related to Greek culture who thought it first. However, in the numerous works that have spoken of Atlantis (including us and, even, Godzilla!) and described the Atlanteans, references to Greek culture are not always found.

Atlantis, for many works, is a mix of more or less enlightened peoples, being reinterpreted countless times for adapt to the most varied woldbuilding. There is no reason why we should be scandalized this time.

Halle Bailey with red hair. And Ariel is immediately.
Halle Bailey with red hair. And Ariel is immediately.

Black Ariel is okay because you're crazy. Nostalgia is understandable, but let's not confuse personal tastes with the claim of fidelity to the "original"

When you hear that "Disney is a slave to SJW!", The first thought is: dozens of princesses as white as milk, and then there is a scandal for a dark-skinned one. You know Dudley Dursley complaining that he only received 36 gifts compared to 37 last year? Here.

That a character that we longtime fans have always seen in a certain way changes appearance in a remake of a classic it may be strange, but it is not the end of the world. For us fans of the cartoon Ariel has red hair, for the eight year old girl who goes to see the film for the first time in the cinema she will be black. The two do not cancel each other out, and in a more civilized world there would be no reason to dispute either. Moreover, a black Ariel in live action does not in any way erase the white Ariel of the animated film: our childhood cannot be ruined in any way.

Furthermore welcome an actress who can also sing! Ariel sings for half the bars at his disposal, and we can also do without another autotune show.

Black Ariel, from what you can see, is annoying. It bothers because it's not like many had imagined it, and to justify what in too many social posts sounds like a whim we resort to botched explanations that are even worse than the more neutral "I don't like".

This trend is escalating year after year

In the early '00s there was little anger over the choice of Halle Berry like Catwoman, and the decision to make The Princess and the Frog a story set in New Orleans spent quite a few chivalry ten years ago.

In recent years, however, we have seen popular uprisings for the Human Torch, Nick Fury and Black Heimdall. When there was the terrible live action of Death Note, viewers were much more outraged by L black, than by Light white, where both characters should have been Japanese.

In turn, Ariel is not doing well. Ariel is not touched. Ariel must be white, otherwise ... otherwise what?

The nice comments posted on the profile of the Bailey sisters
The nice comments posted on the profile of the Bailey sisters

We pull the strings: be informed, be calm and do not do the Dudley Dursleys

Before shouting at the plot, politically correct, blackwashing or the simple ruin of our childhood, we should take a deep breath, stay calm, analyze the situation. And then we should also say a nice "and sticazzi".

Because it's not that we miss the white and red-haired princesses, and no one dies if today it is someone else's turn to have the protagonist of a film that looks like him.

The little Mermaid, loosely inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen story, it is not closely related to Danish culture, and even in the animated film the inspiration for the setting came from the Mediterranean. Andersen's story is a potentially universal story, and as such it can be applied to many settings, without Denmark being the heart of it. Too bad Andersen's story isn't even the core of the 1989 animated film.

There is no reason to contest this casting choice with the "danesity" of the original work. It is legitimate to prefer the Ariel of your childhood, but it is not permissible to bring out conspiracies or behave like spoiled Dudley Dursleys.