Disney

The Haters Can Relax: Disney Already Had Mermaids Of Color

jake.bean 11 Jul 2019

The Little Mermaid is the talk of the town lately, for both good and bad reasons.

Good because they're making good decisions, but bad because the internet had to hate on it.

The live action 'Little Mermaid'.

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With production starting in April 2020 and the release date assumed to be around 2021, we can't wait for the year of great vision to finally roll around.

Get it? 2020? Moving on.

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So Ariel has been cast.

And honestly, I'm pretty excited to see Halle Bailey in the role.

She's cool, she's young and she's cut her teeth on a couple of acting roles as well. She might be perfect for the mermaid.

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She can also sing.

Which, you know, if you're going to be in a Disney musical, you're going to have to know how to sing with the best of them.

And she does, in fact, sing like the best of them.

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So, we're all good.

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Right?

I mean, she's a talented singer, she's the perfect age for the role, she has a great look, there's no possible way that anyone could ever possibly have any prob–

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Yeah.

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I'm going to stop you right there, me, because of course people have issues with this new Ariel.

And I'll bet you can't guess why people have a problem with Halle Bailey.

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Is it...

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A) Because her career as an R&B singer makes her voice not sound right for the role.

B) People are so attached to Jodi Benson they couldn't see anyone else in the role.

or C) Because she's black and not white.

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If you guessed B...

Then you're wrong because it's obviously C.

Yeah, people are pretty pissed that she's not a fair-skinned, red-headed mythological creature like she was in the original animated movie.

"BuT mUh ChIlDhOoD!"

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Is anyone else tired of this?

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Every time a traditionally white role is recast as black the whole internet blows up, and the same thing happens vice-versa.

Have a white person playing a Hawaiian? Prepare to get bombarded with #NotMyAllisonNg.

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Anyways...

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Disney already had mermaids that weren't white!

You may have forgotten about this mermaid, but she did exist!

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Remember 'The Little Mermaid' animated TV show?

I don't blame you if you don't, it was one of those after Disney renaissance hit movie TV shows that kind of came and went.

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During that show, there was a mermaid named Gabriella.

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She was inspired by Ariel and her beautiful singing voice, and one day wanted to be as good a singer as Ariel was.

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And guess what?

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She was Latina!

And the people of Atlantica (yeah, I bet you didn't know the Kingdom in which Ariel lived until now) didn't care. Gabriella considered Ariel a sister, and vice-versa.

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She was also deaf!

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Yep, she used sign language to communicate and her friend, Ollie the Octopus, translated for her.

So Twitter, if they cast a deaf Prince Eric, please don't start #NotMyEric.

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There are even more touching details about this character!

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Apparently, she was based on a young fan who passed away during the show's first season.

She was added so deaf kids could have someone to relate too.

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Her first appearance was in an episode entitled "Wish Upon a Starfish".

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And boy, while the character is an inspiring one, the episode where she came into the world is a weird one.

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It begins with Ariel expressing her desire to dance.

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I guess it would really be swimming around or whatever, mostly arm movements, but who am I to argue semantics about a magical underwater world?

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That's when...

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We see Gabriella for the first time as she spies on Ariel and eventually comes out and talks to her potential mermaid friend. Awww, how adorable, she's a shy little mermaid.

Oh yeah, Ollie is there too.

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So they talk...

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Ariel talks about how she wants to dance (or swim around, whatever) and Gabriella talks about how she wants to sing as good as Ariel.

So what do they do?

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They of course...

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Go to see a magical starfish that can apparently grant wishes.

What, you thought Ariel was just going to teach her to sing and they were going to find a way to dance together? Psh.

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There are of course some dangers to face along the way.

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To get to the starfish, the two mermaids and their animal companions have to brave Killer Crab Canyon and the Cave of Terror.

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They obviously go.

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Ariel bringing Sebastian and Flounder, Gabriella bringing her pal Ollie.

They get past the Killer Crabs by having Sebastian talk way too much and as they go along something happens...

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The two of them bond.

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Mostly over a mutual love of adventure, and their similar styles of doing so.

However, I feel like this happens a lot when two people go on a journey together.

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In the end...

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The Starfish doesn't end up granting their wishes, and in fact isn't even magical, which is kind of a jip.

However, they treasure the new friendship that they made and remain as such.

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So yeah...that's quite enough from you, Twitter.

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Because Disney has already cast mermaids of color and even if they didn't why do you care so much?

It's a freaking movie, people.

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