On the heels of the so-so news about Melissa McCarthy playing Ursula in the live-action Little Mermaid comes the GLORIOUS news that Halle Bailey, of Chloe x Halle fame, will play Ariel. There was some initial confusion that Halle Berry is playing Ariel, which Halley-mark-Berry set straight on Twitter:
In case you needed a reminder... Halles get it DONE. Congratulations @chloexhalle on this amazing opportunity, we can’t wait to see what you do! #TheLittleMermaid #HalleBailey pic.twitter.com/z0Rik2nxRe— Halle Berry (@halleberry) July 3, 2019
I get it, I can feel myself wanting to say “Halle Berry” when I read “Halle Bailey”, but give it a year and no one will be confusing the Halles again. If you’ve heard Chloe x Halle, you know Bailey has serious pipes—and if you haven’t, why not?—so there is no question she will CRUSH songs like “Part of Your World”. And she is a Beyoncé Protégé, so she is ordained in the world of pop music. The fact that she is now playing Ariel is just an inevitability. After one has been Chosen by Beyoncé, one becomes a Disney princess, it is inevitable. As lukewarm as I am on Melissa McCarthy playing Ursula, I am proportionally excited about Halle Bailey playing Ariel. She’ll be terrific. She’s adorable and she can sing, and she is Beyoncé-approved, this is all that is required.
But, of course, because she is black, some people are losing their minds. They cannot perceive a world in which fish girls are black. Here is the perfect Twitter exchange summing up the entire debate:
She a mermaid bro. A mermaid.— zardu hasslefrau 👨🏻🦱 (@izaeah) July 3, 2019
Yes, a fish girl is exactly the same as Martin Luther King, Jr. There is absolutely no difference between fish girls, which have never existed, and MLK, an actual person. Apples to apples, that comparison. Racists gotta pick better hills to die on, because “ethno-centric fish girl casting” is a real stupid place to be murdered by the internet. It’s almost as stupid as the people currently dying on the “well then make Black Panther white” hill, as if un-colonized Africa would be overrun with Chads. You know what has no real-world touchstone? A fictional underwater kingdom. Atlantica can look like anything because it’s a full of f-cking fish people. There is no actual standard for what a fish person looks like, except that they be half f-cking fish. Anyone who brings this up to me is going to get “She’s a mermaid” in response and then we’re all moving on because SHE’S A MERMAID. This is exactly the kind of argument that exists solely to get racists to tell on themselves.
As for the rest of the cast, following the McCarthy news, Kris Tapley tweeted that Awkwafina and Jacob Tremblay are being considered for Scuttle and Flounder, respectively. Super into Awkwafina, fine with Tremblay. Mostly I’m just waiting to hear whether or not Lin-Manuel Miranda will come through as Sebastian, and who they get to play Chef Louis. That could be a really fun cameo, but this casting is so up and down, I feel like, after a great pick like Halle Bailey, we’re going to get James Corden as the chef. The Little Mermaid casting is a total rollercoaster.