+
Identity

Parents are sharing kids' delight at seeing Halle Bailey in live-action 'The Little Mermaid' trailer

"Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role."

ariel little mermaid disney representation
Photo by Nsey Benajah on Unsplash

Kids react to Halle Bailey playing Ariel in Disney's live-action "The Little Mermaid."

It has been seven years since Disney first announced its plans for a live-action version of "The Little Mermaid," and four years since Halle Bailey was cast as Ariel in the film.

Director Rob Marshall commented on her casting in a statement in 2019, saying in a statement, “After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role."

He didn't mention her race, but others did—for better and for worse.

While some celebrated the choice of a non-white actress, the hashtag #NotMyAriel revealed that a segment of the public took issue with the casting of a Black actress to play Ariel. Some claimed the character was supposed to be a fair-skinned redhead and making her Black wasn't true to the Danish origins of the story. In a Variety profile, Bailey shared with Variety that she relied on the support and encouragement of her family members, including her grandparents, to handle the racist backlash directed her way.


“It was an inspiring and beautiful thing to hear their words of encouragement, telling me, ‘You don’t understand what this is doing for us, for our community, for all the little Black and brown girls who are going to see themselves in you,’” Bailey told Variety.

As for the criticisms, as many have pointed out, Ariel is a fictional mermaid in a fantasy world in which race plays no part. Danish people can be Black, Black people can be redheads and the colors of Ariel's features aren't relevant to the storyline anyway.

Casting a Black actress does matter, though, especially for young Black viewers who rarely see themselves physically reflected in the world of Disney princesses. The first Disney princess, Snow White, was introduced in 1937 and we didn't see a non-white princess until Jasmine in "Aladdin" in 1992. In the past 30 years, Disney has had some catching up to do to create a more diverse and representative offering of its iconic characters.

Parents have been sharing the reactions of their kids to seeing the new teaser trailer for the live-action "The Little Mermaid," which show why that representation really does matter.

Here is a small handful of them:

@preciousavery

I love this for my 3 years old 🤎 #littlemermaid #toddlersoftiktok #hallebailey #girlpower

@workingmama

My daughter’s reaction 😭 to the little mermaid trailer. #littlemermaidtrailer #representationmatters

@nickyknackpaddywack

Mayas reaction to #thelittlemermaid trailer. #representationmatters #representationinthemediamatters #blackgirls


As an Upworthy commenter shared on Instagram, representation can be powerful for kids. "As a ginger who was little and getting teased relentlessly for the color of her hair and skin when little mermaid came out, I felt represented when the Disney princess looked like me and she was and is still my favorite. Ariel making a new generation of little girls feel seen and represented is beautiful. 😍😍"

For people worried about how this casting choice might impact representation for redheads, never fear. First of all, the live-action Ariel played by Halle Bailey actually does have red hair, so there's that. Secondly, considering redheads only make up 1% to 2% of the population, they are already well-represented in the land of Disney princesses. Aside from Ariel, we have Merida (from "Brave") and Anna (from "Frozen," though she isn't technically considered a princess) on the animated front, as well as Giselle from the live-action film "Enchanted," (though she's not considered an "official" princess, either). The only official animated Black princess has been Tiana in "The Princess and the Frog." For a live-action Black princess, we had singer Brandy playing Cinderella in a 1997 live-action TV film.

Now we have Halle Bailey cast as Ariel, a welcome choice for Black Disney princess fans who have rarely gotten to see themselves as "part of that world." And if this trailer is any indication, it's going to be truly magical.

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

True

Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Christina Applegate's Walk of Fame speech highlights the importance of showing up for friends

'I don't say that I have friends, I have family. These people take care of me.'

Christina Applegate's Walk of Fame speech.

Christina Applegate was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame recently in her first public appearance since announcing her multiple sclerosis diagnosis. While the "Married… With Children" alum cracked jokes, she also shined a spotlight on the importance of showing up for friends.

Applegate uses a cane to help her walk, but there was one unmistakable person standing behind her, quite literally holding her up at times—Katey Sagal. If you were a teen in the '90s you'll remember that Sagal played Peg Bundy, the mother of Applegate's Kelly Bundy in "Married… With Children."

The speech was touching on its own and watching Sagal protectively stand and wait while her TV daughter-turned-friend spoke cranked up the emotional factor. Applegate's support team didn't stop there. Her TV brother David Faustino was in attendance as well as her two co-stars from "Dead to Me" as the star choked up, explaining what they meant to her.

Keep ReadingShow less

Started from the bottom, now she's here.

Thirty-six-year-old Jane Lu is the founder of Showpo, a highly successful online retail store based in Sydney, Australia. By successful, I mean that in 2019, the company raked in a total of $85 million in revenue.

And to think, if Lu had simply followed the rules, none of this would have ever happened.

At 24, Lu’s life looked very different. Her accounting job at Ernst & Young, one of the “big four” accounting firms, had left her miserable. So she quit and instead pursued her love of fashion. With one caveat—she never told her parents, who she lived with.

Instead, she pretended to still be working as an accountant and committed fully to the role. She continued to put on a suit and would venture into the city, pretending to go to work.

And in her defense … that last part wasn’t a lie.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Professor becomes a hero after holding his student's spot in line for Taylor Swift tickets

Dr. Austin Shull chose 'not to be the anti-hero' and now has won every heart online.

He is not the "anti-hero" in this story.

When biology professor Dr. Austin Shull received an important email from one of his students, he likely expected it to be about a homework assignment. Instead, the assignment was for him. If he was up to the task, that is.

With her subject line reading “REALLY IMPORTANT,” the student explained how she was currently in the online queue to purchase highly coveted Taylor Swift tickets, but her anatomy practicum class was fast approaching. You can see the conundrum.

The proposal was simple—if Dr. Shull agreed to watch her spot in line on her laptop while she took the class, it would make her “entire year.” Keeping in theme, her email concluded, “please please please don’t be the anti-hero.” For those that live under a rock, “Anti-Hero” is one of Swift’s latest singles. Where have you been?

Anyway, Shull agreed. And not only did he make his student’s entire year, he melted hearts from sharing his story.

Keep ReadingShow less
Celebrity

Lizzo took giving someone the clothes off your back literally and brought a woman to tears

'Words don't suffice, and thank you isn't enough. But THANK YOU! I’m speechless.'

Lizzo took giving someone the clothes off your back literally.

Lizzo is probably one of the most nonproblematic celebrities in the world today. She spreads positivity and kindness and encourages others with her openness about her mental health struggles. It's pretty safe to be a Lizzo super fan and for Aurielle Marie, an Atlanta author, being a huge fan of Lizzo's paid off in the most unexpected way.

Marie posted a video to TikTok pleading with Lizzo to wear her dress from the 2022 Emmys. But it turned out the dress was destroyed, according to Lizzo's response, but her dress from the 2019 American Music Awards was intact. The dress was a beautiful muted fuchsia color with a fitted bodice and full tulle skirt complete with a thigh-high slit. Lizzo looked amazing in the dress so obviously fans would love to get their hands on it.

One of the most exciting things about social media is that you get the chance to interact with your favorite celebrities and, as luck would have it, Lizzo saw Marie's video. The flute-playing megastar responded like an absolute queen.

Keep ReadingShow less