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The Original Ariel Responds To Everyone Mad At Disney’s Casting Decision

As you’ve probably already heard by now, one of the biggest stories last week was the news that 19-year-old singer and actress Halle Bailey has been cast as Ariel in a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

You might know Halle from her group with her sister Chloe x Halle, or maybe you’ve seen her staring on Grown-ish with Yara Shahidi. Whether you’ve been a fan of Halle for a while now or this casting decision was your first time hearing of her, the second you hear her angelic singing voice there’s no doubt that she is absolutely perfect to portray the famous mermaid.

Of course, racists with nothing better to do were up in arms over this decision, adopting the hashtag #NotMyAriel and complaining that Disney cast a black performer in the role. While some people sat on their phones all day and cried about a fictional mermaid not being white, celebrities and friends of Halle all rallied behind the young star to show their support after the decision was announced.

Freeform, the network that airs Grown-ish, even published a great response to everyone who thinks because Ariel is a Danish fairy tale, she has to be white.

One of the most notable responses to come from this, though, was from Jodi Benson, the woman who voiced Ariel in Disney’s original animated film back in 1989.

The singer just made an appearance at Supercon in Florida, where she was asked about the controversy–and she was ready to defend Halle, Disney, and their decision to cast the star as the newest iteration of Ariel.

“I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters,” she replied. “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.”

In other words, #NotMyAriel hashtaggers can stay mad!

If the original Ariel is cool with this new casting decision, how can you justify being mad over fake issues of “authenticity”?

Halle Bailey is going to absolutely crush her role as Ariel and that’s all that needs to be said.

Jodi Benson, The Original “Little Mermaid,” Defends Halle Bailey Being Cast As Ariel  was originally published on