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Halle Bailey: Part of a New World

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kennesaw chapter.

On Sep. 10, the highly anticipated trailer for the upcoming live-action “Little Mermaid” was released. The trailer transported viewers to crystal blue waters, where they were gifted with a trailer version of “Part of that world” performed by Halle Bailey. Many Disney fans are well-acquainted with the song but are about to be introduced to a completely different Princess. 

The original cartoon came out in the year 1989. Ariel quickly became a staple, easily marked by her iconic red-flowing hair. The trailer has created some mixed views among Disney and non-Disney fans. The video reached 1 million dislikes on Youtube in just two days. In fact, the trailer has raised some cultural questions. Although many fans found it enlightening to see a different version of the princess, many fans do not believe that Halle Bailey is an accurate representation of the princess. Many people have vocalized their opinion, which has done nothing but spark intense debate.

Many comments have been made regarding the race of the New-age princess rather than the story or the music. On one side, people are praising Bailey for taking the step to provide a black version of a classic that we know and love. Various videos have recorded reactions to the trailer showcasing the magical moment of little black girls seeing a princess that looks like them. While the opposing side is calling it inaccurate and deeming it an attempt to be “woke.” Personally, I am biased on this issue because I am a Black woman who was once a little girl. When I was growing up, there were no princesses that looked even remotely like me, so I found myself just connecting to the princess I could relate to in the slightest way.

I grew up a major Disney fan, and Halle is no stranger to Disney. After reading multiple reactions, I kept seeing one commonly asked question. “Why can’t a mermaid be black?” Mermaids are mythical creatures, so they shouldn’t be subject to only being one race. This statement alone has also generated a lot of social discourse. How can skin color define a mermaid? Silly question but relevant.

Many claim that altering a detail such as skin color will negatively affect the story’s message. I personally do not believe that is true. I think it will allow other communities to relate deeper to the message simply because of more diverse representation. In a world where everyone is trying to be “woke,” I believe it is essential to understand the actual goal. The goal is not to change the stories but simply to show that messages can pander to more than just one group of people. The movie will be in theatres in May of 2023. I am excited to see how the film turns out and the future that can now follow in this film’s historic footsteps.

The Little Mermaid Swimming GIF by Regal - Find & Share on GIPHY
Excerpts from the trailer.
I am just a girl trying to work my way into the entertainment/journalism field. One creatively imperfect step a time.