Students Take a Stand; The Little Mermaid


Kaedyn Minta-Jacobs, Reporter

All over TikTok, young, black children were shown gazing at their TV screens, surprised and ecstatic to see a superhero that looks like them.  A new Mcdonalds commercial, first shown just a few weeks ago also, highlights the fact that children of color are beginning to recognize a pattern of representation in toys, movies, shows, and teachers. (Video below.)

Statistics show that main roles have dramatically filled with black actors within the last two years, and many are blaming it on the COVID-19 pandemic.  65.8% of shows featured a black actor pre-pandemic and 70.5% featured one post-pandemic. Roles for Black actors in movies also increased from 56.1% to 58.7% (DiversityInc).  The pandemic forced all generations to stay inside everyday for two years.  Because of this, social media use has skyrocketed, causing millions of people to download apps.  TikTok and Instagram, the two most popular social media apps which showcase pop culture, were able to completely change the way Generation Z accepts and understands people of color, LGBTQ+ people, different religions, and other minority groups who have received hate. The Little Mermaid, a Disney movie, is releasing a live action version in 2023.  However, the news quickly spread that there was a twist, when photos of the black actor, Halle Bailey, got released. People were furious.  Some feel as if large companies, like Disney and Marvel are “only adding people of color and minority groups to movies for validation.”  Others completely disagree saying that the skin color of Ariel, the leading role of the movie, should absolutely not affect the way that people perceive her. 

Adebiyi Bankole and another anonymous student, two black students who attend NPHS, say that the new live action Little Mermaid should still be white, as they should not change the physical appearance of the princess simply to please the new generation.  However, the majority of students disagree with them, as they feel like the race of The Little Mermaid does not matter, and should be overlooked rather than seen as unnecessary.  Halle Bailey herself, explains that the hate she is receiving is “overwhelming.”  However, she is still excited to film the movie, which is being released May 26th, 2023.


Please note that some students chose to be anonymous as other students chose to have their name publicly written.