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    The Little Mermaid Trailer and Racist Responses to Halle Bailey

    Disney’s recent live-action adaptations of its beloved classics have faced criticism, often accused of relying too heavily on nostalgia or catering solely to a young audience. However, the case of the live-action Little Mermaid has introduced a unique form of backlash—one that Disney is confronting head-on.

    Unlike past instances, this time the criticism stems largely from various racial groups on YouTube. The teaser trailer released last year amassed more than 3 million dislikes, while the latest trailer has garnered over 600,000 dislikes.

    The heart of the controversy revolves around Disney’s decision to cast Halle Bailey as Ariel, a character originally depicted as a white woman with red hair in the 1989 animated film. Detractors argue that altering the princess’s ethnicity for the live-action adaptation is a racially insensitive move.

    In stark contrast to the negativity, many young Black girls are genuinely thrilled by the prospect of seeing a mermaid who shares their likeness. This sentiment has even sparked a TikTok trend, with parents capturing heartwarming moments of their children joyfully reacting to the trailer.

    Noteworthy figures have also lent their voices to support Bailey and the film. Jodi Benson, the original voice actress for Ariel, lauded Bailey’s performance, describing it as “absolutely amazing.” Chris Miller, a producer of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, utilized social media to address the issue of racism within the YouTube sphere.

    Disney’s stance on this controversy showcases a proactive response, revealing their determination to stand by their creative choices and foster inclusivity in storytelling.

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