The new live-action little mermaid now features Halle Bailey as the lead, Ariel. The trailer that launched as usual under Disney’s banner, but the unusual occurrence is the trailer got 1.5 million dislikes in about two days. It has also brought a split among the audience.
A group calls Disney out for “blackwashing” the loved character. The difference in race between the source animated character and the now-cast actress creates this controversy. This group also criticizes Disney for exploiting the label of inclusivity by transforming Ariel into a different race. The character had a specific identity for approximately 34 years before abruptly changing. There are conflicting views on the racial swap between the animated character and the actress in the movie. A group from the audience calls it a publicity stunt by Disney.
In contrast, some in the audience believe it is a positive step to be recognized. The trailer is also said to be an initiative for inclusivity, and the beloved mermaid character could belong to any race. The film’s cast is considered an example for the younger generation and their fantasy that the character could be one of them, not alienated.
When the movie premieres in 2023, the reception from the audience and the reaction to the film will be evident.