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Disney live-action 'Little Mermaid' to star a black Ariel

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By KEVIN WINTER

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Poor girl, she is going to be in the middle of so much controversy just because Disney wants to orchestrate some kind of a race war on social media to get that '' if you don't like this movie or this decision, you are RACIST! '' crowd and in general get headlines over this controversial casting choice. This actress is being used, hopefully she realizes that.

I'm upset that there'll be so many people defending this and being completely naive and gullible, and so many people unreasonably angry over it to the point of spewing obvious racism. But obviously, it'll create headlines and people will get interested just because of the controversy. You'd think Disney wouldn't need such scummy tactics though.

While I completely disagree with the casting choice, I'm not loosing sleep over it. Especially since the Little Mermaid is an absolute HORRID movie. The songs are cute and all but it's such a terrible movie. And in general this whole live action remake boom is such a cash grab. Disney is money-grubbing, fake '' woke '' and creatively bankrupt. Obviously, just my opinion.

0 ( +12 / -12 )

If she suits the part, then great! It'll make some people angry, though.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

It would only be logical if they let a blonde girl to play princess jasmine in aladdin.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

If she suits the part, then great! It'll make some people angry, though.

Yes, but how does she suit the part?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

She is qualified because she has a good voice and sings well

Here's her singing at the last Super Bowl:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeSAQAob5WQ

And the recent Grammys

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngsEy-NwltQ

She can even reach the high notes

4 ( +8 / -4 )

She is qualified because she has a good voice and sings well

You don't need that. You just need an actress who looks the part and who can act. Singing the songs can be done by a singer. Perhaps they should ask her to sing the songs and a more appropriate actress could be selected for the role of Arial.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

and a more appropriate actress could be selected for the role of Arial.

ah yes, that highly selective look that mermaids who have calypso singing crabs as friends have. Simply put, the girl is a good actress who can sing well. That's all the part needs. Nothing about Ariel requires anything else, except perhaps age..

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Perhaps they should ask her to sing the songs and a more appropriate actress could be selected for the role of Arial.

What's inappropriate about her playing Ariel?

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Disneysoblack
-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Yes, but how does she suit the part?

From the photo in the article, she looks like she'll suit the part just fine.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

@ Bugle Boy of Company B

You don't need that. You just need an actress who looks the part and who can act.

Are you telling me there is an actual look for a fictional character whose characteristics have never actually been described?

How many Egyptian movies have been made and most of the characters look like they were born and raised in Northern Europe?

This is just like the ridiculous debate over Idris Elba playing James Bond. These are characters that were only simply drawn white in a publication or had a white actor portray them in a version of a film. The actual characteristics were never actually described.

The biggest problem is that some people paint a fictional character in a certain light and can’t accept that the person could possibly be seen in a different light.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Bloody hell, do people still get their knickers in a twist about this kind of casting. Shock horror - I saw a woman playing Hamlet. The world didn't end.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Well this choice should stop people complaining when people of other nationalities play characters not traditionally their race. So if a white actor gets the part to play a traditional Black role or an Asian role, there should be no issue. Everyone can play any role no matter if they are the right race, sex, religion or sexual preference for any role.

Because this sort of thing works both ways for everyone.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

This is just like the ridiculous debate over Idris Elba playing James Bond. These are characters that were only simply drawn white in a publication or had a white actor portray them in a version of a film. The actual characteristics were never actually described.

While I agree with your sentiment, and that there is no reason any ethnicity can't convincingly play a mermaid, you are wrong about James Bond. He was quite well described, and his Scottish-Swiss background was essential to his character being an outsider of sorts. It would be difficult to cast an actor of another race without completely changing his back-story.

Sorry, but sometimes race is a defining feature of a character. Sometimes it isn't. Since mermaids don't exist and there is no authoritative word on what race they might be, anyone could fit the part.

For James Bond, anyone could be cast as well, but the character would have to be rewritten so much it's a wonder why anyone would bother.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I think it’s great, just as long as we don’t have to listen to this kind of thing anymore:

If your Egyptian adaptations (actually historical) can be white people, Ariel (a fictional character) can be black,

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I hope it's less about reaching a target market that maybe before didn't identify with this particular show and more about making real change.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

She is qualified because she has a good voice and sings well

You don't need that. You just need an actress who looks the part and who can act. Singing the songs can be done by a singer. Perhaps they should ask her to sing the songs and a more appropriate actress could be selected for the role of Arial.

But then, you can also turn that around and say:

"They don't need that. Why hire 2 people to do 1 job when 1 person is qualified to do the job by herself?"

If she can sing and she can act, then she can do the job by herself

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The original Disney Ariel wasn't simply "white". She was a positive representation of one of the smallest, most underrepresented and ridiculed minorities in the world, redheaded gingers. To take Ariel away from this community is a slap in the face that non-redheads probably won't understand due to their privilege.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Btw, I didn't know that ethnicity mattered in the character of Disney's "The Little Mermaid"

(I'm separating this from Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" because this is Disney's changed version based on the book. This is Disney's version.)

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I'm not loosing sleep over it.

I know when I don’t care about something, the first thing I do is furiously type 180 words bewailing foes who exist only in my mind.

Also, and I know this is apparently hard for people, but Ariel hasn’t been miscast or cast ‘outside her race’ because, say it with me, mermaids aren’t real.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Ariel hasn’t been miscast or cast ‘outside her race’

So you’re saying race miscasting is an issue? Living in Japan, if you do, must be a nightmare.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is just like the ridiculous debate over Idris Elba playing James Bond. These are characters that were only simply drawn white in a publication or had a white actor portray them in a version of a film. The actual characteristics were never actually described.

Bond WAS described, in detail in the novels:

Facially, Bond resembles the composer, singer and actor Hoagy Carmichael. In Casino Royale Vesper Lynd remarks, "Bond reminds me rather of Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and ruthless." Likewise, in Moonraker, Special Branch Officer Gala Brand thinks that Bond is "certainly good-looking . . . Rather like Hoagy Carmichael in a way. That black hair falling down over the right eyebrow. Much the same bones. But there was something a bit cruel in the mouth, and the eyes were cold." Others, such as journalist Ben Macintyre, identify aspects of Fleming's own looks in his description of Bond. General references in the novels describe Bond as having "dark, rather cruel good looks".

In the novels (notably From Russia, with Love), Bond's physical description has generally been consistent: slim build; a three-inch long, thin vertical scar on his right cheek; blue-grey eyes; a "cruel" mouth; short, black hair, a comma of which falls on his forehead. Physically he is described as 183 centimetres (6 feet) in height and 76 kilograms (167 lb) in weight. After Casino Royale, Bond also had the faint scar of the Russian cyrillic letter "Ш" (SH) (for Shpion: "Spy") on the back of one of his hands, carved by a SMERSH agent.

Does that describe Idris Elba? Don't get me wrong, Idris is one of my favourite actors but he'd be wrong for Bond.

As for the little Mermaid... a quote from the actual Hans Christian Andersen story:

They were six beautiful children; but the youngest was the prettiest of them all; her skin was as clear and delicate as a rose-leaf, and her eyes as blue as the deepest sea; but, like all the others, she had no feet, and her body ended in a fish’s tail. 

So you see, these are literary characters who have been described in the prose - if directors want to change the gender or ethnicity of a character then at least be honest about it and say it's in the interest of diversity... I have no issues with diversity, just them being honest about why they cast who they cast.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Does that describe Idris Elba? Don't get me wrong, Idris is one of my favourite actors but he'd be wrong for Bond.

No, but neither does it describe the former bodybuilder Sean Connery, the short, blond Daniel Craig, or Pierce Brosnan who was roughly 15 kilos bigger than Bond.

The fact is, movies and television change plenty of things about characters all the time and people let it slide. But suddenly, if a totally fictional character is suddenly portrayed by someone who isn't the ethnicity that certain groups of people expect, they start losing their minds and screaming about the integrity of the story or the character.

What does Ariel's skin color have anything to do with the story of The Little Mermaid, the Disney version? Not the Andersen story, where every step she makes on land feels like knives stabbing her in the feet, and she lives in agony. What does it have to do with the Disney version of the story as told in the original animated version?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

While I agree with your sentiment, and that there is no reason any ethnicity can't convincingly play a mermaid, you are wrong about James Bond. He was quite well described, and his Scottish-Swiss background was essential to his character being an outsider of sorts. It would be difficult to cast an actor of another race without completely changing his back-story.

Sorry, but sometimes race is a defining feature of a character. Sometimes it isn't. Since mermaids don't exist and there is no authoritative word on what race they might be, anyone could fit the part.

For James Bond, anyone could be cast as well, but the character would have to be rewritten so much it's a wonder why anyone would bother.

James Bond is actually black and gay.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Good luck to her. I hope they are coaching her on what to say because race is a sensitive issue there will be people out there wanting to jump on any slip of the tongue.

. Physically he is described as 183 centimetres (6 feet) in height and 76 kilograms (167 lb) in weight. 

So James Bond was not a beefcake like Daniel Craig then. Well I never. I can picture Roger Moore in that white suit or in his knitwear, but never in a gym. I can't imagine a female James Bond either, and hope whoever want one will go to the effort of coming up with an original character with a different backstory.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

A lot of people on here with a vivid imagination. I've never seen a mermaid and don't know anyone who has. Neither did HCAnderson ever see a mermaid, he wrote fiction and was clever enough to capture a lot of people 's imagination. So, if a mermaid did exist, she probably had a dark skin tone like many fish.

FYI Christ Was born in the Middle East of African ancestey(Egypt in th old testament) and I'm sure many on here would argue he should be played by someone with a light complexion.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Disney made so many changes to Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" that I don't consider them the same anymore, just "based on"

If Disney's 1989 version of its own "The Little Mermaid" had Ariel colored green or blue or brown, would people had been upset that she has a different color from Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid"?

I don't think people would had cared what color she was because there's so many differences from the original that they're not the same anymore. People who hated the changes would had hated Disney's "The Little Mermaid" no matter if Ariel was the same color or not. While those people who didn't mind the changes would also not minded if Disney changed Ariel's color too

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As long as they don't use a blue actor for Sebastian, I won't complain.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Glad I don't give a rat's abs about the Little Mermaid cartoon. It's for little kids. So I couldn't care less if a black girl plays the mermaid.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

He was quite well described, and his Scottish-Swiss background was essential to his character being an outsider of sorts.

I've got news for you - you can be Scottish and not be white.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yes, but how does she suit the part?

How is the race of the fictional mermaid core to her identity and the development of the story?

And it is incredible that the first post here describes casting a black women in a fictional white role as a "scummy tactic".

You have no evidence that Disney are trying to spark a "race war" or a "controversy". All you have is the evidence that Disney selected a black actress. So by that logic, it is like every time a black actor is selected for a role that is not traditionally black, is it automatically a "scummy" thing to do?

It is analogous to the way people scream "golddigger" every time a rich man finds a partner, simply on the basis that the rich man has found a partner, with no further evidence. It suggests that every such instances is and has to be and incidence of gold-digging.

While this is perhaps a silly analogy, it is with this kind of daft logic that you are saying every non-traditional black casting is "scummy". Not because the actress can sing maybe? Because she can dance? Because she is good at her job? No, it she has obviously (rolls eyes) been cast solely as a race-baiting tactic.

Can you expand on why you think this? It seems that you just think this because you think this, as in the golddigging example above.

These opinions all amount to bad logic and poor thinking, to be honest.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Flounder better not be played by a salmon.

Agree on the minority statement about redheads. #redheadlivesmatter

3 ( +4 / -1 )

smithinjapanToday 04:41 pm JSTIf she suits the part, then great! It'll make some people angry, though.

What is the big deal here? Shakespeare plays are done by actors of every race and color around the planet. Many Black American actors have performed in Shakespeare as characters who were white in the plays. When I went to my first Trekkie convention it featured George Takei who already broke ground for Oriental American actors in Hollywood. Somebody asked him what else he did. He said, 'Shakespeare'.

Recently some war veterans in a local VA (Veterans Administration) unit put on a retelling of the play 'Macbeth' but it was 'updated' with the lead character being Moammar Khadafy who was a more 'modern' Macbeth.

Oriental Americans like George Takei and Black Americans like James Earl Jones have taken up Shakespeare roles, so what's the fuss if a Black American woman portrays the lead in Disney's 'The Little Mermaid'?Who says you have to stick to the exact script?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Great let her play Mulan too!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There are lots of good comments here. I tip my hat for all of you.

Disney can change the story whatever it wants. I suggest they should consider to go even bolder like having a male mermaid falling in love for a human princess or go all out and do an adult one (not 18+) with they having intimate moments (imagine a human and a mermaid getting...) or involve some same sex love.

It is understandable for fans to be upset that their favourite character has changed. Just like some fans of Harry Potter are upset Hermione is black in the stage play and the Netflix Saint Seiya has a female Shun. As long as it is not on racist or sexist reason then it should be fine.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Bloody hell, if Little Mermaid can be black then why didn't they get an Asian girl for the job as well? I'm sire this girl isn't the only one who can sing.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Bloody hell, if Little Mermaid can be black then why didn't they get an Asian girl for the job as well? I'm sire this girl isn't the only one who can sing.

If you are interested in seeing Asian Mermaid, there is a 2016 Chinese movie called 'The Mermaid (Měi rén yú)' directed by Stephen Chow (the guy from Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer). It did well at the box office in China and a sequel is reported in working.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

starpunk: What is the big deal here? Shakespeare plays are done by actors of every race and color around the planet.

Apples and oranges, in my opinion. The (Disney animated) Little Mermaid was a single, visual creation that was watched by millions. Millions of audience members have identical images of what that character looks like, and they spent the next few decades buying merchandise (whose appearances look the same). This character has one, clear, single look, so that look is equivalent to that character.

Shakespearean plays are written dialogue on a page - there were no pictures involved, so hiring diverse actors is no problem. In fact, it makes sense - all stage plays are meant to be performed by different groups from all over. It's inevitable that they'll look different.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Yoshisan88:

Why 18+? That's ageist. Not sure if little mermaid, but one of the Disney princesses in the original was like 12. In either case, Ariel should be played by Betty White...she'd make it fun.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yeah, I wish the young actress and singer all the success. Growing up I have seen white actors play Asians, Native-Americans and African-Americans on screen. The most recent that came to mind was the "The Last Airbender" and "The Ghost in the Shell". It is really easy to search for previous articles on JT and certain JT member's posts.

Where was your outrage then?

Japanese stage actors perform international plays in Japan all the time. None of the original characters are Asian. Where is the fake outrage form JT posters?

Why the fake outrage now?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why 18+? That's ageist.

princess or go all out and do an adult one (not 18+) with they having intimate moments (imagine a human and a mermaid getting...)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All I care about is who is singing under the sea?

Life is the bubble!!!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Mmermaids are fictional but every drawing of the little mermaid has always been white or aleast light skinned changing it now is just dumb. It isnt necessary. Poc do not need to be included in everything. If someone were to remake the fresh prince of Bellaire with a white guy as the main character there is no way in hell it would get on tv. Or what about decades from now someone making a documentary of barrack Obama with a white representing him. Make a Black Panther movie with white man as prince kotamunga they'd burn cities to the ground.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If someone were to remake the fresh prince of Bellaire with a white guy as the main character there is no way in hell it would get on tv. Or what about decades from now someone making a documentary of barrack Obama with a white representing him. Make a Black Panther movie with white man as prince kotamunga they'd burn cities to the ground.

You mentioned mermaids are fictional, but Obama is not fictional.

Color has to make sense in context of the story. In Black Panther, it's an African kingdom. Would it make sense to have a white man there?

A remake of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in a rich white neighborhood, it would make sense to be white actors. It has to make sense in context.

In the Little Mermaid, would it make sense to be white? Or black? Or brown? Or green? Or blue? Any one of those can make sense - because there were no humans who lived under the sea.

And white actors have played dark-skinned characters before. Shakespeare's Othello is a Moor (generally dark-skinned people) but played by many white actors over the centuries. Egyptian Cleopatra was famously played by Elizabeth Taylor.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Honestly it's not that big of a deal. It's a work of fiction, Disney has always been very liberal with the source material for their princess characters. They're trying to make their movies more appealing to younger audiences of all races and backgrounds, that's why they're doing this.

If you're honestly that upset over this and freaking out about "muh childhood" then you need to do some self reflecting to determine why your priorities are so messed up.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yet again, people making a huge fuss about a non-issue...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ken WyattJuly 7 10:38 pm JSTYet again, people making a huge fuss about a non-issue...

Exactly. Mermaids do not exist and are usually displayed by animation anyway. However, Daryl Hannah sure made a cute real portrayal in 'Splash'  ; )

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lol, if ya guys can't even wrap your minds around this possibility among Merfolk, how are ya guys gonna handle if the rest of Ariel's family are all different colors?

King Triton doesn't have to be black too

So are Ariel's sisters

They can be mixed color family

Or who knows, maybe Merfolk genetics just work differently

It's all fictional - so anything can be made up

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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