Why Disney shouldn’t make a black Ariel


“The Little Mermaid” live action movie poster courtesy of Disney.

Disney announced they’d be making a live action “Little Mermaid,” featuring Halle Bailey as the star. I believe making Ariel black is unnecessary, it’s as simple as that.

I’m not against black Ariel because she’s black, I’m against it because of what it shows and the meaning behind it. A black Ariel would be okay if it wasn’t being made in a place of guilt. If Disney were making it just to add more racially diverse characters that’d be fine. It’s happening because they need more black characters, and they feel the need to push and announce their diversity.    

I grew up watching Disney, I saw white girls wearing crowns and winning the prince. I never cared much about it, and I always found Rapunzel to be my favorite princess. 

As a black girl, I did sometimes wonder why there weren’t any girls ‘like me’ on TV. Then I watched “The Princess and the Frog.” Finally, a black girl wearing a crown. While I appreciated the movie, I didn’t like It. I still don’t like the movie. 

Disney has made a few non-white princesses in the past, including Mulan, Pocahontas and Moana. Disney has expressed multiple times that they are ‘inclusive’ of all. Making a black Ariel is pushing It. To have a black Ariel knowing Ariel has been white in three movies, isn’t okay.  

Disney came back at some of the hate saying this isn’t their first ‘diverse’ character and hopefully won’t be their last. Diversity comes in many forms. Racial diversity isn’t the only ‘diverse’ thing we need on TV. If Disney really wants to push their diversity, make a gay character. Not one that’s secretly gay like those easter eggs placed in movies but an out and proud gay character. 

Not everyone believes Disney is diverse and that’s okay because the majority of people believe they are. I don’t mind Disney making black characters; that’s good. Turning an already known character black is both weird and rude to those who grew up watching it a certain way. A black mermaid? Sure. Call it something else, and give it a meaningful story and connections. Black character, new movie. Not an off-brand remake. 

If Disney really wanted to show more diversity, make an LGBTQ+ character. That’d show more diversity. Racially diverse characters is old news now, we need and want to see more LGBTQ+ people on TV. That’s diversity. That’ll show more inclusivity.