July 6, 2019

Racist idiots always need something to whine about. Their latest cause is the casting of an adorable and talented black actress, Halle Bailey, to play Ariel, a cartoon mermaid in the Disney movie, The Little Mermaid.

Twitter is SO angry that a black girl was cast, they actually started a hashtag called #NotMyAriel. Joy Ann Reid had a great panel on to discuss this very issue on Saturday morning. The basic consensus: white people need to chill out.

REID: That was the voice of Ariel, Halle Bailey who is set to star in the live action Little Mermaid remake. Well, now here's what you may want to have any kids under 12 leave the room. Give you a moment, take them out the room. Okay. So mermaids aren't real. I know, they're not real. So in theory, anyone could play a mermaid, right? Wrong. The announcement of Ariel's casting has caused a multi-day freakout among some Disney fans who are upset that the actress cast to play Ariel is not white. Back with me is Tiffany Cross of The Beat DC, and joining me, entertainment journalist Chris Witherspoon. Okay, Chris, I gotta go to you, first. Because this seems like a perfectly wonderful, adorable thing. She is adorable, this young lady who's going to play Ariel.


REID: She tweets out, "Dream come true," animated picture of an African-American Ariel, people are excited that you're going to have this cute little African-American girl being Ariel. But the freakout was real. The hashtag, "Not My Ariel" trended. I think it trended for a couple days after this happened. People were screaming she's supposed to be white with red hair, what the "h"? What is going on?

WITHERSPOON: You know, I'm giving you eye-rolls right now, because I was shocked by the freakout myself and a lot of the folks who are freaking out were white adults who grew up with The Little Mermaid that came on that had this white depiction of a princess that we have seen for decades. I think that the freakout is unwarranted. The reality is there have been 11 Disney princesses. Guess how many of them have been black? Just one. So 91% of the depiction in the narrative of what it is to be a princess has been through this white lens. It's past due. And the last time we had a black princess was ten years ago. So calm down, have several seats, and let's embrace Halle and all her talent. That clip just showcased, she is fierce and she deserves this role hands down.

REID: Let me read one tweet. Thank you to my team for putting this up there. This sort of made the point very well, this is a woman named Stephanie Renee who says, "My children were raised with Ariel. She's an icon in the eyes of many children and adults of today. So change her race is absurd. That would be like somebody making a movie about Oprah Winfrey and hiring a white girl to play Oprah. Oprah is an icon. We wouldn't want to change her." Okay, first of all, Oprah Winfrey's a real person. So if you made a movie about her you would want to her to look kind of like Oprah. This isn't a documentary. There's no such person as Ariel! It's a fictional character!

WITHERSPOON: There's no time "Under the Sea" where Sebastian says "Ariel and your whiteness in your Caucasian experience," it doesn't happen. So we could easily recreate and retell this story however we see fit. I think Disney is doing a great job at being inclusive and finding new ways to tell diverse narratives and do colorblind casting.

Tiffany Cross nailed the hypocrisy of white people whining about a Black woman being cast in the role of a cartoon FICTIONAL creature anyhow...and noted that the possible bright side was the real reason she thought the hashtag might actually be trending.

CROSS: And even to the crazy lady that's tweeting out the tweet you just read, how many white people have actually played real black people? You've had white actors play Michael Jackson and other people. How often do your stories get whitewashed in mainstream Hollywood? So, this is so ridiculous. Honestly, I have a theory, I think the Not My Ariel thing trended briefly because of those fringe internet section comments crazy people who tweet out these ridiculous things. But I think the overwhelming majority of people who made this trend were people who disagreed, who were saying how ridiculous you all sound saying this is not my Ariel. This goes back to the Megyn Kelly comments saying Santa is white. And we can even look at the Disney princesses and they all look the same. Even among the white princesses they all look the same. There's never been a disabled princess, there's never been an overweight princess. There's so many areas we can grow and learn in these spaces, and to your point, it is a CARTOON CHARACTER you idiots, what are you upset about? You sound so ridiculous.
CROSS: She's so talented. If there's one sad thing to be taken away, it's that her joy was taken away because of these fringe crazy people tweeting these things.

WITHERSPOON: I think the finger pointing, if there is any in this scenario, it should go towards Hollywood and the fact that over the past, you know, since 1937 and Disney films we've seen snow white and Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and they've all looked the same, as you said, Tiffany. So I think it's high time that Hollywood begins to embrace and open doors and allow creatives that have these stories to tell. They can create new stories. Maybe it's not going to be Ariel, maybe it will be an actual black princess who lives in Harlem or Brooklyn. We need to see more new stories.

Maybe people need to stop focusing on the casting of an actress in a real life adaption of a mermaid and focus on more important things, like kids in cages, migrants being forced to drink toilet water, people dying in CBP custody and our idiot President who can't even give a speech without mumbling about revolutionary war airport battles.

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