Earlier this week, Disney made a momentous announcement: they’ve cast the second black actress ever to play one of their princesses. Her name is Halle Bailey (no, not Halle Berry), and the 19-year-old Grown-ish actress and recording artist will star as Ariel in the upcoming live action remake of the Disney classic The Little Mermaid. The last time a black actress was cast in a live action film was 1997, when singer Brandy filled those iconic glass slippers in Cinderella.
While she certainly has some huge accomplishments under her belt, being cast as a Disney princess will surely launch her further into stardom. The internet, unsurprisingly, has a plethora of feelings about the casting decision. While a fair share of them are racist and ludicrous (hi, internet trolls), there’s also a slew of people who recognize just how amazing this is. Not only is it a huge moment for Bailey, it also shows how far the industry has come. Disney’s willingness to look beyond a cookie-cutter interpretation of a “princess” is something to celebrate, and fans and fellow celebrities alike are sharing their excitement on Twitter.
The black community in particular has reason to celebrate this milestone:
Black Twitter reacting to the news that Halle Bailey from the group ChloeXHalle was cast as Ariel in Disney's Live Action Little Mermaid pic.twitter.com/QiBEOG2awy
— Matthew A. Cherry 🏁 (@MatthewACherry) July 3, 2019
The joy i felt after hearing that @chloexhalle had been cast as Ariel in #TheLittleMermaidLiveAction last night was next level #BlackGirlMagic personified. It’s one of my favorite movies! I went and listened to the soundtrack and yep she’s perfect for the role! Bravo #Disney pic.twitter.com/ngWm2IDc8C
— Monica Palmer (@M_Marie_P) July 4, 2019
Singer Kehlani, who gave birth to a baby girl earlier this year, is thrilled that her daughter will grow up with a black Ariel.
my daughters generation little mermaid is BLACK WITH LOCS!!!!!!!! WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!! 😍😍😍😍😍
— Kehlani (@Kehlani) July 4, 2019
Others are pointing out the obvious absurdity of getting angry over this particular casting. (Like, Ariel is half fish…her race shouldn’t really be an issue here).
Can’t believe people are getting mad abt a black girl playing The Little Mermaid. “It’s like casting a white girl to play Mulan!” Bitch, Mulan is Chinese and the movie is set in China. Ariel is half-fish and it’s set under the sea. Mahirap i-prove ang nationality ng fish okay
— Saab (@saabmagalona) July 5, 2019
There’s also already been some gorgeous fan art created of Bailey as the red-headed princess.
— Dominic Bustamante (@Dommnics) July 4, 2019
Despite the haters, there are so many reasons to be psyched about this casting decision, and we can’t wait to see what Bailey does with the role.