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‘Ariel...is a mermaid’: Disney network defends casting black actress in live-action remake of classic film

Halle Bailey, a black actress and singer, has officially nabbed the starring role in the upcoming live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.”

When Ariel first splashed onto movie theater screens nationwide nearly 30 years ago, the heroine of Disney’s animated film “The Little Mermaid” had a distinctive look. Enormous blue eyes dominated a porcelain-skinned face framed by a luxurious mane of bright red hair. Her only article of clothing was a purple bra top made of seashells, and instead of legs, she sported a light green fish tail.

But in the studio’s new live-action remake of the 1989 movie, the rebellious undersea princess will depart from her classic appearance.

Last week, Disney announced that Halle Bailey, a black actress and R&B singer, will play Ariel in the upcoming film, which is slated to begin production in early 2020. The 19-year-old’s casting marks the first time Disney has selected a woman of color to play a traditionally white princess in one of its live-action adaptations, NBC News reported.

The news was met with a flood of praise from celebrities including Mariah Carey, Halle Berry and Chrissy Teigen, as well as many fans. However, it also prompted protests from some who were upset by the deviation from the animated character’s image, launching hashtags such as #NotMyAriel and #NotMyMermaid.

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Tags: #disney, #film, #hallebailey, #thelittlemermaid
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