- Disney has released the trailer for its live-action remake of ‘The Little Mermaid’.
- Actress Halle Bailey, who plays the title character, received a racist backlash following her casting.
- Bailey follows a long history of mermaids of color from different cultures.
When Halle Bailey was cast as Ariel in Disney’s live-action remake of ‘The Little Mermaid,’ she faced a racist backlash.
The #NotMyAriel hashtag gained traction when her casting was first announced. Some people felt the role should have gone to a white actress, since the heroine of the 1989 Disney animated film was light-skinned and the original fairy tale was written by Hans Christian Andersen, an author Danish.
The backlash reappeared when Disney released its trailer in September.
But Bailey follows a long line of mermaids from different cultures with centuries-old stories.
“The idea of water spirits and mermaids is not Hans Christian Andersen’s. He popularized this particular story, but the concept predates his story,” Khytie Brown, assistant professor of African Diaspora Religions at the ‘University of Texas at Austin,’ said. “This is just one iteration of the story, which points to the overall historical problem of European representations becoming the dominant representation.”
From alluring mermaids to grotesque sea creatures, here are the mermaids prevalent in seven different cultures.