Freeform has a message for all the Poor, Unfortunate Souls who are mad about a black woman playing Ariel in The Little Mermaid.
As we reported, a whirlpool of chaos broke out on social media last week when Disney announced Chloe x Halle singer Halle Bailey would be playing the titular mermaid in the upcoming live-action reboot of the 1989 animated classic.
While the overwhelming majority were ready and willing to embrace a black Ariel, there were still more than a few… what’s the word? Oh, right… racists who opposed the decision, on the grounds that fictional, cartoon Ariel was clearly white-skinned.
Well, Disney’s teen-focused cable network (on which Halle’s show, Grown-ish airs, BTW) wrote an “open letter” to these Twitics on Saturday, Socratically explaining how the mythical mermaid can be black while simultaneously being Danish and red-headed — if “accuracy” is what’s truly important to them.
Freeform explained in an Instagram post:
“Yes. The original author of The Little Mermaid was Danish. Ariel…is a mermaid. She lives in an underwater kingdom in international waters and can legit swim wherever she wants (even though that often upsets King Triton, absolute zaddy). But for the sake of argument, let’s say that Ariel, too, is Danish. Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black. Ariel can sneak up to the surface at any time with her pals Scuttle and the *ahem* Jamaican crab Sebastian (sorry, Flounder!) and keep that bronze base tight. Black Danish people, and this mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair.”
Also, and we can’t stress this enough: Ariel’s a f**king fish-woman from a made up city called Atlantica. Girl has gills… it doesn’t take much suspension of disbelief to accept she can have some melanin, too.
Those who can’t get past the irrelevant differences in skin tone, Freeform has little patience for. The statement continued:
“But spoiler alert – bring it back to the top – the character of Ariel is a work of fiction. So after all this is said and done, and you still cannot get past the idea that choosing the incredible, sensational, highly-talented, gorgeous Halle Bailey is anything other than the INSPIRED casting that it is because she ‘doesn’t look like the cartoon one,’ oh boy, do I have some news for you…about you.”
Read the network’s full response (below).
Nothing but respect for OUR Little Mermaid!
[Image via WENN]