“Disney is ruining people’s childhoods with black-washing”, said Chinese media

A Chinese media outlet wrote an article where they listed 5 times Disney cast black actresses for their adaptations. 

With Halle Bailey starring as Ariel in Disney’s live action “The Little Mermaid”, the movie has been embroiled in a so-called “casting controversy”. However, in both the future and the past, many iconic animated characters like Snow White, Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Tinker Bell, and others are being played by black actresses, and “The Little Mermaid” is by no means an exception. 

halle bailey

Nevertheless, many netizens have complained about such casting choices, and a Chinese media even wrote that Disney is in the act “ruining people’s childhoods with ‘blackwashing’’”. In particular, they condemned Disney for using the guise of supporting racial equality in Hollywood for PR purposes and to make money, and listed 5 “controversial times” where Disney casted black people for adaptations of its classic animations. 

Ariel (The Little Mermaid)

Halle Bailey’s Ariel vs the the animated Ariel 

The live-action version of “The Little Mermaid” is currently being screened worldwide. However, from the casting announcement to the film’s release, there have been numerous debates and strong reactions towards black singer Halle Bailey playing the female lead Ariel. 

Compared to the 1989 animated version, the “new Ariel” is not only different in skin color but also in hair style, with Halle Bailey wearing iconic locs in a much duller red. 

Many netizens are dissatisfied with this change. On social media, hashtags like #NotMyAriel and various other protest campaigns have been created against the black Ariel. However, according to fans of the original work, their issue isn’t with Halle’s race, but rather with Halle Bailey’s appearance not matching the Ariel they know.

Belle (Beauty and the Beast)

Belle’s skin color is also changed in a musical adaptation

In 2022, Disney released a musical remake of the famous animated movie “Beauty and the Beast.” In this version, R&B singer H.E.R portrays the female lead Belle.

When the African American beauty shared the news on Instagram, fans left supportive comments, expressing pride in the recognition of black artists. However, many criticized this casting decision, stating, “Disney once again let a black person interpret a story where the white person is the main character. This has destroyed our childhood memories.”

Snow White

snow white
Rachel Zegler vs the original Snow White .

In the upcoming live-action adaptation of “Snow White”, which is scheduled for release in 2024, Rachel Zegler is set to portray the leading role. With her extensive stage acting experience and magnificent singing voice, the singer-actress has shined in various previous projects.

However, fans of “Snow White” are dissatisfied because Zegler’s brown skin does not align with the original “Snow White” fairy tale, which describes the princess as having “skin as white as snow”. Some even took as far as to call the actress “princess Black Coal” or describe her as “just came back from playing in the mud.”

Tinker Bell

tinker bell
Yara Shahidi’s only difference from the original Tinker Bell is her skin color

In early April, Disney released the trailer for the live-action film “Peter Pan & Wendy”. In this video, the character Tinker Bell is portrayed by African-American actress Yara Shahidi.

In everyone’s memory, Tinker Bell is a small and cute fairy with blonde hair tied in a bun and fair, glowing skin. However, Yara has dark skin and black hair, causing her to face criticisms for being a “mis-match” for Tinkerbell.

As a result, this adaptation has also faced backlash from a huge part of the audience.

The Blue Fairy

the blue fairy
The Blue Fairy in Disney’s live-action vs in the animated version

In 2022, Disney released the live-action version of “Pinocchio”. Here, an important supporting character, The Blue Fairy, was played by British actress and singer Cynthia Erivo.

In the animated version, The Blue Fairy had wavy blonde hair and fair skin. However, Cynthia Erivo’s version of The Blue Fairy has black skin and no hair, making some netizens shocked by this transformation of this character.

Source: HK01

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