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#NotMyAriel Trending: The Little Mermaid Stirs Up a Social Storm: Ariel’s New Avatar Faces Racial Backlash

Disney’s latest offering, a live-action adaptation of their iconic 1989 animation, “The Little Mermaid”, is basking in financial success and stoking cultural controversy alike. The reimagined fairy tale has swum past its hefty $250 million production budget, garnering a whopping $347 million worldwide. Yet, amidst the celebration, there’s a pervasive question – can Ariel conquer the wave of racial critique in America and become a triumphant success?

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The Hashtag Controversy – #NotMyAriel

Internet audiences responded fervently to the recently launched teaser, particularly focusing on the revamped Ariel, now portrayed by Halle Bailey. Regrettably, not all responses have been receptive. The hashtag #notmyariel, trending on Twitter, has become a rally cry for those disapproving the casting of a black actress for the traditionally white mermaid character.

 

 

The teaser has not only been greeted by a disheartening 1.5 million dislikes on YouTube but has also been targeted by trolls releasing doctored versions of the teaser featuring a white Ariel. The persisting emphasis on Ariel’s racial background underscores a deeply ingrained bias that black characters cannot embody classic roles.

Pseudo-Scientific Racism – A New Low?

Adding fuel to the raging debate, Matt Walsh, a host from Daily Wire, stirred controversy with his remarks, “‘From a scientific perspective, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have someone with darker skin who lives deep in the ocean”. Backlash swiftly followed, leading him to take refuge behind the façade of ‘logic and science’.

Disney’s bold step towards inclusivity, casting a black Ariel, has highlighted society’s deep-seated prejudices. As the film continues its successful run at the box office, one hopes it also catalyses a re-evaluation of societal standards and encourages acceptance of diverse representations in media.

Although faced with a tumultuous sea of backlash, Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” remains a testament to the power of storytelling and its potential to challenge and change perceptions. The question remains, can Ariel’s new avatar navigate these choppy waters, emerging as a beacon for the next generation of role models in a decolonising society? Only time will tell.

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