7 Signs 'The Little Mermaid' Has Always Been a Black Character
Photo: Walt Disney Studios

7 Signs 'The Little Mermaid' Has Always Been a Black Character

Halle Bailey is merely carrying on tradition. Stay woke!

The teaser trailer for the live-action The Little Mermaid movie dropped last week and racist trolls are doing what racist trolls do best: moaning and groaning about the fact that a fictional character is being played by a Black person. It’s as certain as the sun rising in the east, a tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme. Okay, that’s from a different Disney movie, but you get the idea.

Those racist trolls can complain about Black representation all they want and die mad about it. Because, the more you think about, the more you realize that Ariel’s character never should have even been white to begin with. Here are seven signs that Princess Ariel is definitively, indisputably, a canonically Black character.

7. She doesn’t want her hair to be wet

Ariel's number one goal in life is to live on land, and it’s pretty obvious why. It’s tough to keep your hair dry and relaxer fresh when you spend 24 hours a day submerged in water. So while some might say it’s better down where it’s wetter, it’s no surprise that Ariel wants to be up where they walk, run, and spend all day in the sun.

6. She has Black friends

Ariel’s best friend, Sebatian (voiced by the late Samuel E. Wright), is an Afro-Caribbean crustacean who talks like Beenie Man. And while white women love to say they have Black friends, very few can actually say their BFF is Black. The only example that comes to mind is Alicia Silverstone in Clueless. She was best friends with Stacey Dash, whose Black card has been suspended for years.

5. She gets down to Caribbean music

Whether she’s on a date or just hanging out with her friends, Ariel is always jamming to hot crustacean bands playing Caribbean music. You hear those steel drums in “Under the Sea.” And while she’s not exactly grinding to dancehall, it’s still safe to say most white girl’s playlists would feature a lot more Carrie Underwood than calypso.

4. She instinctively knows how to dance

When Prince Eric is showing Ariel around, they briefly stop in the town square and start waltzing. And yet Ariel, who has had legs for less than 24 hours at that point, is able to tear it up flawlessly. Sorry to all the white girls trying to go viral on TikTok but those dance skills are only possible with #BlackGirlMagic.

3. She supports Black-owned businesses

Once Ariel decided she wanted to trade her fins for legs, she no doubt had plenty of options when it came to finding a sea witch who could grant her wish. So while she could’ve (presumably) gone with any of the white sea witches who would’ve either cut her an even worse deal with more strings attached or just denied her request altogether, she decided to go with Ursula. And let’s face it, Ursula (problematically) like Scar, Jafar, and many other Disney villains, is 100%, without a doubt, Black AF. So while supporting Black entrepreneurs is usually a great way to support the community, Ursula just happened to have bad intentions. She’s basically the Shaun King of Atlantica.

2. Her family doesn’t want her dating a white boy

King Triton, like many Black parents, has some concerns about Ariel dating Prince Eric. How can she know she can trust this white boy? And does she think she’s too good to date an underwater brotha? It’s not that King Triton doesn’t approve of interracial dating, it’s just that it’s a shame for Ariel to go off and marry Prince Eric when she could find strong, Black, merman love right there at home. And it turns out his concerns were valid, because Eric’s trifling ass nearly runs off and marries some other girl a day after meeting her. Sometimes parents really do know best.

1. She doesn’t eat shrimp, crab, catfish, or any seafood

Wait a minute, this one actually throws a wrench into things. She might be white after all.

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