Disney is on a roll with its live-action remakes of beloved favorites (The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and so on). But its casting announcement for the upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid was met with vile racist reactions when the company shared that Halle Bailey (A Wrinkle in Time, Grown-ish), who is black, was cast in the title role.
But just when we thought the world had completely lost its damn mind and any sense of decency, blogger Courtney Quinn created a hashtag that gave us hope: #ColorMeMermaid. She launched the hashtag on Instagram, inviting parents to share photos of their children dressed as Ariel and any other beloved Disney characters — no matter the color of their skin — to demonstrate (beautifully) why inclusion is so powerful and so important.
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Quinn captioned a photo, “Disney recently announced their casting of Ariel for 2020’s ‘the little mermaid’. The studio cast a talented & beautiful young actress with an incredible voice, who happens to be black … and the internet wasn’t too happy. I grew up in a predominantly white town and have been hurt by racial comments before, so reading those comments brought back a familiar pain. I didn’t understand how people would want to ‘bully her into quitting’ or could claim that she’s ‘not their Ariel’ because she didn’t fit some 30-year-old mold of a mythical creature.”
She continued, “…instead of letting those words sting I decided to do something about it & infuse some positivity into your feed!”
Mission accomplished, Courtney Quinn. Hundreds of parents posted on Instagram photos of their kids dressing up as their favorite characters — whether or not they look like the original (read: white) concept of the character.
@mspaulapresents on Instagram wrote, “little black girls need more representation in the everyday things that all little girls like. When the news of the new Ariel came out I was happy because Halle Bailey is super talented and honestly it is super cool that my daughter is in a generation that the little mermaid looks like her and also a time where talent and charisma for the role counts more than what a fictional character looks like.”
@jenniferborget feels the same way about the #colormemermaid movement: “[The red-haired] Ariel was da bomb! … Now imagine how my little girls will feel when the world gets to see an Ariel with dark skin. And all of the little girls around the world who will get to see and enjoy an additional version of the princess we all love… Get that? Additional. We lose nothing and gain so much with this new version of Ariel.”
The best part? Adults are getting in on the #colormemermaid action too:
For the record, we’d totally be down for a future gender-swapping live-action remake called The Little Merman. Just a thought.