Chloe x Halle member Halle Bailey has been cast as Princess Ariel in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
In a Disney release published Wednesday, film director Rob Marshall stated that Bailey had been selected for the role after an extensive search.
“It was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a gorgeous singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this role,” said Marshall.
According to Variety, Bailey will be joining a cast including Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina, while Melissa McCarthy is said to be in talks to play Ursula, the evil sea witch.
Bailey shared her excitement for the role on Twitter Wednesday, tweeting out a animated picture of an African-American Ariel, simply captioning it “dream come true…”
dream come true… 🧜🏽♀️🌊 pic.twitter.com/sndjYUS6wO
— chloe x halle (@chloexhalle) July 3, 2019
The announcement has created a firestorm of reaction on social media where people shared their excitement and support for the casting that many considered a milestone in the Black community.
R-REALLY….????? oh my god… i'm seriously gonna cry this is so so soooo cool the little mermaid was always one of my top top favs and this is just… AMAZING… BLACK ARIEL!!!! YAAAY I'M SO HAPPY!!! EEEEEEEE https://t.co/51wFk9yNTJ
— 🛸Biji (@heybiji) July 3, 2019
However, not everyone shared these sentiments. The hashtag, #NotMyAriel began trending as some people shared concerns that Disney’s ethnic change would not be true to original character or story. Some even compared it to Princess Tiana being portrayed by a White actress.
It's not a movie about mermaids … it's about the 1989 Disney movie based on the story "The Little Mermaid" Written by Hans Christian Andersen where he describes white skin as blue eyes.
Ariel is from DENMARK … Nordic … #NotMyAriel #Itisnotinclusive pic.twitter.com/7fMNy2xhGI
— Paola Flores (@PaolaFl55150463) July 5, 2019
Disney has yet to announce a release date for the film.