Photo credit: Ovidiu Hrubaru / Shutterstock.com
Yara Shahidi has weighed in on the controversy surrounding her Grown-ish co-star Halle Bailey’s casting as Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
To sum up, some critics couldn’t get on board with a black Ariel, as the Disney original was white with bright red hair…
“She is Ariel,” Yara Shahidi told Entertainment Tonight at Comic Con, when asked whether she thinks that her co-star is the perfect fit for the role.
“Like, if you know her, she is the most ethereal voice. And Chloe x Halle are two powerful young women,” she added, referencing the girl group that Halle is in with her sister Chloe.
“I don’t know other people who produce and write their own music, that are so involved in their process, that take their art so seriously and have such a great message.
“So to see Halle in this role, it redefines what it means to be a princess, and I think she does maintain all of those classic traits of Ariel while still bringing that sense of confidence and empowerment.
“It’s really about the essence of the character, and I think that’s what she maintains beautifully. When you hear her voice, everything about it is perfect.
“I’m excited for a group of young people to grow up with her as Ariel. I know what it did for me when I saw The Princess and the Frog, and so she’s redefining the landscape.”
We are also excited by the casting and hope that critics will change their minds once they see Halle bring Ariel to life.
Disney’s Freeform also previously jumped to Halle Bailey’s defense, addressing the race issue that many critics had…
“Yes. The original author of The Little Mermaid was Danish. Ariel…is a mermaid,” the lengthy Instagram post began.
“She lives in an underwater kingdom in international waters and can legit swim wherever she wants (even though that often upsets King Triton, absolute zaddy).
“But for the sake of argument, let’s say that Ariel, too, is Danish. Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black. Ariel can sneak up to the surface at any time with her pals Scuttle and the *ahem* Jamaican crab Sebastian (sorry, Flounder!) and keep that bronze base tight.
“Black Danish people, and this mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair.”
What a perfect post! That should silence the majority of the critics, right?