The New Ariel


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What is the name of Ariel’s daughter?

Bella D., Writer

It’s 2010. Many viewers start complaining after watching the live-action of “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” They are not happy with the cast that portrayed some of their favorite characters.

This movie stood out to many because of the many caucasian actors and actresses who played Asian characters. 

“Avatar: The Last Airbender” is an animated television series that aired from February of 2005 to July of 2008. In this television series, the main protagonist, Aang, and his friends must save the world with their elemental powers. According to avatar. fandom, “The show drew on elements from East Asian, South Asian, and Western culture,” making most, maybe even all, of the characters Asian.

Fast forward to 2019, and movie watchers have been informed that a remake of “The Little Mermaid” will start production in April of 2020. What connects these two movies? The remake of “The Little Mermaid” includes what some call ‘racebending,’ while the live-action movie “Avatar: The Last Airbender” included ‘whitewashing.’ Directors intend to cast Halle Bailey, an African-American, as Ariel. 

The terms whitewashing and racebending are similar but different. Media use the term ‘whitewashing’ when characters of different ethnicities are portrayed by white actors and actresses. On the other hand, “racebending,” according to, “refers to situations where a media content creator (movie studio, publisher, etc.) has changed the race or ethnicity of a character.”

In the past years, the movie industry has been criticized for its use of whitewashing and racebending. For example in the next “The Little Mermaid” movie, directors cast an African-American to play Ariel, which has made some fans angry.

The new “The Little Mermaid” is only the second black Disney princess, even though Ariel was not originally a black princess.

According to, “The debate over a black Ariel is the latest example of how attempts to diversify cultural icons can be polarizing.” Many people have shared their opinion about an African-American Ariel, and some of them are positive, while others can be insulting. 

“Y’all respect all the original princesses’ looks in all the live actions so far and decide to ruin Ariel…wtf??? Absolute garbage…keep it classic or nothing…better not change the characters in Disney World meet and greets,” one reader commented. 

Haile Bailey, the famed African-American actress, and singer played in an R&B duo alongside her sister, Chloe Bailey, and she is also known for her recent work in  “A Wrinkle in Time” and “Grown-ish.”

“To be honest, I think she (Halle Bailey) was chosen to play Ariel for a reason,” 7th grader Harley M. said. “It doesn’t really matter what her skin tone is because everyone is different and unique in their own way.”

Although many fans are displeased about the next Ariel, there are also some who are supportive of this decision to cast an African American as Ariel.

“I think it’s really cool because, in the other Disney movies, there aren’t many African-American princesses,” said Zaire M., “and the viewers should give her a chance because she might actually be a really good Ariel.”

The Little Mermaid is a classic Disney movie, and viewers generally love it. But will casting Halle Bailey change the public view on it?