The original Ariel, Jodi Benson, just came forward this past Saturday at the Florida Supercon convention in defense of Disney’s recent casting announcement of Halle Bailey in the upcoming live-action version of “The Little Mermaid”
Disney first revealed the news last Wednesday that Bailey would be taking on the role of Ariel, and the announcement was met with a lot of excitement and also a great amount of backlash. Thousands of people posted their reactions to the news on social media, saying that Bailey isn’t a good fit for the role because “she’s not a redhead.”
Some fans even went on to share the hashtag #NotMyAriel to express how upset they were with Disney’s choice. Others called for Disney to recast a white, redheaded actress as the star of the film. Although, it wasn’t long before Bailey’s supporters fired back, taking over #NotMyAriel on Twitter and using the hashtag as a way to call out comments against the casting decision.
With all of the mixed emotions facing the decision by Disney, Benson–the original voice of Ariel, decided to speak on the matter herself. And the former Disney Princess had a lot of wise words to share, which are featured below:
“The most important thing is to tell the story. And we have, as a family, we have raised our children, and for ourselves, that we don’t see anything that’s different on the outside,” Benson said Saturday at Florida Supercon convention.
“I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters. What you bring to the table in a character as far as their heart, and their spirit, is what really counts. And the outside package — cause let’s face it, I’m really, really old — and so when I’m singing ‘Part of Your World,’ if you were to judge me on the way that I look on the outside, it might change the way that you interpret the song. But if you close your eyes, you can still hear the spirit of Ariel.
We need to be storytellers. And no matter what we look like on the outside, no matter our race, our nation, the color of our skin, our dialect, whether I’m tall or thin, whether I’m overweight or underweight, or my hair is whatever color, we really need to tell the story, (Benson said to applause.)
And that’s what we want to do, we want to make a connection to the audience. So I know for Disney that they have the heart of storytelling, that’s really what they’re trying to do. They want to communicate with all of us in the audience so that we can fall in love with the film again.”
Disney has firmly stood behind their decision to cast Bailey as the new Ariel, in addition to many celebrities on social media as well.
What are your thoughts on Benson’s support of the casting of Bailey as Ariel? Let us know in the comments below!