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Disney had a racially diverse (and deaf) mermaid long before Halle Bailey's 'controversial' casting

Even 30 years ago, not all mermaids looked the same.

disney, disney plus, mermaid

A real talk about fictional mermaids is apparently needed.

Fellow millennials, do you remember that glorious time period in the early '90s when our favorite Disney movies had their own cartoon series? They even had some pretty Marvel-worthy crossovers, like when Hercules ended up meeting Jafar and Aladdin had a run-in with Hades in the same episode. Good times.

“The Little Mermaid” was included in this movie-turned-series line-up. And during its run, the spin-off show introduced Gabriela, a racially diverse and deaf mermaid. Yes, as it turns out—Disney has always imagined it to be diverse under the sea.

Ariel first meets Gabriela and her octopus companion (an ASL interpreter) Ollie in an episode titled “Wish Upon a Starfish." The character, described as Latina on Disney Wiki, was based on a real young girl who loved the original film but tragically passed away at the age of 2 of leukemia.

You can check out their first encounter below.

Yes, that is the voice of Jodi Benson (the original Ariel) singing.

The two mermaids become fast friends and, as the episode’s title suggests, later they both get to make a wish. Gabriela shared her desire to be able to sing to “express her feelings,” which she learned she could already do through signing. The '90s were a great time for episodes ending with an upbeat moral.

Though it could be argued that Disney has had its fair share of virtue signaling in the past, it does often advocate for representation in authentic ways, as it did by introducing Gabriela.

And yet, despite having a well-known reputation for inclusiveness, Disney’s casting choice of singer Halle Bailey as Ariel in the live action remake of “The Little Mermaid” has, as so many diverse reimaginings do, been on the receiving end of racist backlash.

The comments have run particularly rampant since the official teaser trailer was released. In only two days, the video received more than 1.5 million dislikes and the inception of the hashtag #NotMyAriel.

Some have claimed that having an actress that isn't identifiable white strays too far from the original Danish story, which is pretty mind-boggling considering Hans Christian Andersen’s original little mermaid had no name to begin with, had no major physical descriptions other than “soft and tender skin” and deep blue eyes and, let’s just say, she definitely did not live happily ever after with the prince.

Another complaint is that Ariel’s signature bold red hair from the '90s (which has been significantly toned down in Halle Bailey’s look) is a must-have trait. This was certainly not a creative choice on Andersen’s part. We mostly have 1984’s “Splash” to thank for that. As PopSugar explains, Disney animators changed Ariel’s hair from blonde to red in an attempt to stand out from Darryl Hannah’s iconic role of Madison.

In other words, Disney already strayed from the “original” story. Why can’t it be tweaked again? Make it make sense, please.

There are some even more bonkers arguments swimming around out there, such as “Daily Wire” host Matt Walsh claiming that “from a scientific perspective, it doesn't make a lot of sense to have someone with darker skin who lives deep in the ocean.” Whether or not this was, as Walsh later commented, to be a form of satire, it’s hard to not see it as founded in racism more than anything else.

Considering the apparent lack of logic and unbridled outrage over this fictional character, it’s hard not to see any of the backlash to the latest “My Little Mermaid” as anything other than thinly veiled racism. One group of critics went as far as to share a digitally altered version of the teaser featuring a white woman instead of Halle Bailey, who they called a "woke actress."

Disney established the existence of dark-skinned mermaids as canon decades ago, and folklore throughout the world existed centuries before that. Plain and simple. Besides, the joyful reactions that kids are having to Bailey’s Ariel show firsthand why representation matters. The story, and the character, still have plenty of magic to offer everyone. Nothing is lost through more inclusion.

I for one hope they make even more changes to the story. Like maybe not sending young girls the message to literally prioritize their looks over their voice … or sign contracts without reading them.

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10 anti-holiday recipes that prove the season can be tasty and healthy

Balance out heavy holiday eating with some lighter—but still delicious—fare.

Albertson's

Lighten your calorie load with some delicious, nutritious food between big holiday meals.

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The holiday season has arrived with its cozy vibe, joyous celebrations and inevitable indulgences. From Thanksgiving feasts to Christmas cookie exchanges to Aunt Eva’s irresistible jelly donuts—not to mention leftover Halloween candy still lingering—fall and winter can feel like a non-stop gorge fest.

Total resistance is fairly futile—let’s be real—so it’s helpful to arm yourself with ways to mitigate the effects of eating-all-the-things around the holidays. Serving smaller amounts of rich, celebratory foods and focusing on slowly savoring the taste is one way. Another is to counteract those holiday calorie-bomb meals with some lighter fare in between.

Contrary to popular belief, eating “light” doesn’t have to be tasteless, boring or unsatisfying. And contrary to common practice, meals don’t have to fill an entire plate—especially when we’re trying to balance out heavy holiday eating.

It is possible to enjoy the bounties of the season while maintaining a healthy balance. Whether you prefer to eat low-carb or plant-based or gluten-free or everything under the sun, we’ve got you covered with these 10 easy, low-calorie meals from across the dietary spectrum.

Each of these recipes has less than 600 calories (most a lot less) per serving and can be made in less than 30 minutes. And Albertsons has made it easy to find O Organics® ingredients you can put right in your shopping cart to make prepping these meals even simpler.

Enjoy!

eggs and green veggies in a skillet, plate of baconNot quite green eggs and ham, but closeAlbertsons

Breakfast Skillet of Greens, Eggs & Ham

273 calories | 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 (5 oz) pkg baby spinach

2 eggs

1 clove garlic

4 slices prosciutto

1/2 medium yellow onion

1 medium zucchini squash

1/8 cup butter, unsalted

1 pinch crushed red pepper

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

bow of cauliflower ham saladGet your cauliflower power on.Albertsons

Creamy Cauliflower Salad with Ham, Celery & Dill

345 calories | 20 minutes

1/2 medium head cauliflower

1 stick celery

1/4 small bunch fresh dill

8 oz. ham steak, boneless

1/2 shallot

1/4 tspblack pepper

1/4 tsp curry powder

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp garlic powder

3 Tbsp mayonnaise

1/8 tsp paprika

2 tsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

tofu on skewers on a plate with coleslawPlant-based food fan? This combo looks yums. Albertsons

Grilled Chili Tofu Skewers with Ranch Cabbage, Apple & Cucumber Slaw

568 calories | 20 minutes

1 avocado

1/2 English cucumber

1 (12 oz.) package extra firm tofu

1 Granny Smith apple

3 Tbsp (45 ml) Ranch dressing

1/2 (14 oz bag) shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)

2 tsp chili powder

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

frittata in a cast iron skilletSometimes you just gotta frittata.Albertsons

Bell Pepper, Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata with Parmesan

513 calories | 25 minutes

6 eggs

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

2 oz Parmesan cheese

1 red bell pepper

1/2 medium red onion

8 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with slices of grilled chicken and a caprese saladCaprese, if you please.Albertsons

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Classic Caprese Salad

509 calories | 25 minutes

3/4 lb chicken breasts, boneless skinless

1/2 small pkg fresh basil

1/2 (8 oz pkg) fresh mozzarella cheese

1 clove garlic

3 tomatoes

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 3/4 pinches black pepper

1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

four stuffed mushrooms on a plateThese mushrooms look positively poppable.Albertsons

Warm Goat Cheese, Parmesan & Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

187 calories | 35 minutes

1/2 lb cremini mushrooms

1 clove garlic

1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

2 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

1 1/4 pinches crushed red pepper

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

2 pinches salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with open English muffin with goat cheese and sliced baby tomatoes on topMove over, avocado toast. English muffin pizzas have arrived.Albertsons

English Muffin Pizzas with Basil Pesto, Goat Cheese & Tomatoes

327 calories | 10 minutes

3 Tbsp (45 ml) basil pesto

2 English muffins

1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

1/2 pint grape tomatoes

3/4 pinch black pepper

2 pinches salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

pita pocket on a plate filled with veggies, meat and cheeseThis pita pocket packs a colorful punch.Albertsons

Warm Pita Pocket with Turkey, Cheddar, Roasted Red Peppers & Parsley

313 calories | 20 minutes

1/4 (8 oz) block cheddar cheese

1/2 bunch Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

4 oz oven roasted turkey breast, sliced

1/2 (12 oz) jar roasted red bell peppers

1 whole grain pita

3/4 pinch black pepper

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp mayonnaise

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with toast smeared with avocado and topped with prosciuttoDid we say, "Move over, avocado toast?" What we meant was "Throw some prosciutto on it!" Albertsons

Avocado Toast with Crispy Prosciutto

283 calories | 10 minutes

1 avocado

2 slices prosciutto

2 slices whole grain bread

1 5/8 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp onion powder

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

bowl of chili with cheese and green onions on topVegetarian chili with a fall twistAlbertsons

Black Bean & Pumpkin Chili with Cheddar

444 calories | 30 minutes

2 (15 oz can) black beans

1/2 (8 oz ) block cheddar cheese

2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

2 green bell peppers

1 small bunch green onions (scallions)

1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin purée

1 medium yellow onion

1/2 tsp black pepper

5 7/8 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp cumin, ground

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

For more delicious and nutritious recipes, visit albertsons.com/recipes.

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