Disney is reclaiming the big screen with a succession of big-budget live-action remakes of their animated originals. Controversies have been a part of almost each one of the remakes. However, Disney kicked the racist hornet's nest by casting a black actress, Halle Bailey, to play the role of Ariel in Little Mermaid remake.
Along with the millennials complaining about the redundancy of remaking great classics, many racist comments have surfaced since the cast reveal. Even when the #NotMyAriel was trending on Twitter, Bailey had not responded. There have even been public petitions asking Disney to re-cast Ariel.
Finally, at a Variety event, Bailey spoke about her reaction to the racism and hate coming her way. Bailey said that she is excited to have the opportunity to work on such a big project with Disney. She said, "I feel like I'm dreaming and I'm just grateful and I don't pay attention to the negativity."
Bailey's casting has been supported by Jodi Benson, the voice of 1989 Ariel. Comicbook quoted Benson saying at Florida Supercon, "I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters."
Bailey and her sister Chloe started their career by singing Beyoncé cover songs on YouTube. Ariel is supposed to have a magical voice which Disney casting team thought Bailey would be perfect for.
Only time will tell if Disney made the right casting choice and if the Little Mermaid boycotters manage to stay away from the screenings.