Disney’s live-action Little Mermaid will star a black Ariel

Vox | 7/3/2019 | Constance Grady
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Disney’s forthcoming live-action Little Mermaid is set to star actress and singer Halle Bailey, of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle, as Ariel, Variety reports. That means that one of Disney’s most iconic princesses is going to look quite different. This Ariel will be black.

That’s a giant deal, and not just because Ariel is a popular Disney princess with arguably the best “I Want” song in the Disney canon. Ariel is also the princess whose character design set the mold for the astonishingly homogenous run of giant-eyed, small-nosed Disney princesses we’ve met since The Little Mermaid debuted in 1989.

Tumblr - User - Alex - Post - Woman

In 2015, a Tumblr user named Alex made a post titled “Every woman in every Disney/Pixar movie in the past decade has the exact same face.” She traced the face shapes for male and female characters from the past 10 years of Disney/Pixar movies, and she found that while the men had a variety of face shapes — square jaws and short noses! round jaws and long noses! the list goes on — the women’s face shapes were nearly identical: they all had round cheeks, giant round eyes, and tiny button noses. In extreme close-ups, it was almost impossible to tell the difference.

“Same Face Syndrome” is most noticeable in Disney’s current era of CGI animation, but it goes back to the traditional animation of the Disney Renaissance. Classic Disney heroines like Beauty and the Beast’s Belle, Aladdin’s Jasmine, and Tarzan’s Jane also share the basic Disney Same Face character modeling — round face, big eyes, small nose — and Ariel, who ushered in the Disney Renaissance when The Little Mermaid came out in 1989, set the mold for...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Vox
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