Bleats

Disney’s Casting Of Halle Bailey As Ariel Has Turned The Little Mermaid Into Black Panther, Thank God

The remake is turning into something important.

After rapid fire casting reveals for Ursula, Flounder and Scuttle for Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, we finally have confirmation on who the titular mermaid will be.

Disney has announced that Ariel will be played by Halle Bailey, one half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle. The film’s director, Rob Marshall, praised Halle and said that she “possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice” to be the perfect Ariel.

Halle responded to the casting news by sharing a gorgeous photo of herself as animated Ariel along with the caption “Dream come true…”

Halle is a bit of a newcomer to the film world but there’s no reason why she won’t nail the role. Disney cast newcomer Mena Massoud as Aladdin and that’s worked out really well for everyone, plus we already know Halle has a great voice so there’s no worry over whether she can belt out the tunes from Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

But beyond her talents, Halle’s casting is huge because it represents a big leap forward for diversity and representation.

By casting a black person as Ariel, it’s almost certain that Disney will also be looking for black actors to play supporting characters like King Triton (James Earl Jones, anyone?) and all of Ariel’s sisters. It’ll be weird and pretty unsavoury if Ariel is black and the rest of her family is white.

Ariel and Sisters

A large diverse cast could also have a trickle down effect on the overall tone of The Little Mermaid. It’s not a stretch to think that the movie could be Disney’s own version of Black Panther in representing and celebrating cultures beyond white people.

Halle’s casting is also something of an indicator of how Disney is tackling the narrative for this new version of The Little Mermaid. As good as the original animated film was, the “girl sacrifices everything to be with her crush” storyline is depressingly awful and doesn’t really set a good example for all the young girls.

Given how Disney have pushed to rewrite women’s roles in all its live-action remakes so far, we can be pretty confident that it will do something to flip The Little Mermaid‘s storyline on its head in a more empowering, inspirational way.

Diverse casting and empowering narratives FTW.

We’ve got a while to wait yet since the film will start production in 2020 and isn’t likely to come out until 2021, but hey, we’ve already waited this long so a couple of extra years is nothing.

With Halle’s casting, the pieces are falling into place for The Little Mermaid to be something important so Disney can take all the time they need if it means making a better film.

Elvis Presley Preyed On Teenage Girls, And No Amount Of Hit Songs Can Erase That

Just a hunk of illegal, underaged love.

Despite having left this green(ish) earth while sitting on the bog in 1977, Elvis Presley’s cultural capital stubbornly refuses to go away. You know you’ve got a hell of a lot of pop-culture relevance when there’s an annual festival and a Baz Luhrmann biopic of you in the works.

But for all the impact he had on music and entertainment as the “King of Rock n’ Roll”, Elvis was also into something that’s incredibly wrong and will make you rethink whether we should even be celebrating him in the first place: preying on underage teenage girls.

When Elvis’ rocketed to fame in the 1950s, he soon had swarms of young, screaming women following his every move. So like any rock star, he took advantage of the admiration these women had for him, which isn’t that uncommon except for the fact that the women were only 14 years old.

Joel Williamson’s biography, Elvis Presley: A Southern Life, details some of his extremely questionable exploits, such as preying on three 14-year-old girls while on tour, accidentally getting a fan pregnant and leaving her at the hospital to get an abortion, and obsessively calling his 15-year-old girlfriend, Dixie Locke, while he was getting up to no good with all his underage groupies.

When Elvis met his first and only wife, Priscilla, she was only 14 years old whereas he was 24. The “ick” factor gets cranked up a few notches as Priscilla details in her memoir, Elvis and Me, that he did basically everything to her but penetrative sex until they were married in 1967 when she was 22. Guess they were following the “the tip doesn’t count” rule.

While this “no sex before marriage but everything else is fair game” thing was disputed by Suzanne Finstad’s biography on Priscilla, it is documented that Elvis would bring home other women so he can have threesomes involving his wife or would just side on the sidelines as a horny spectator while they went at it.

As a sour cherry on top, Williamson also writes in his biography how Elvis would install two-way mirrors in his Palm Springs home so he could spy on couples getting freaky during the crazy parties he would throw.

So not only was Elvis into teenagers and group stuff, he was also a creepy voyeur.

Elvis may have preyed on underaged girls and spied on people having sex but at least he didn’t abuse anyon – *checks notes* – oh wait, he did.

When Priscilla cheated on Elvis, she writes in her memoir that after telling him he “forcefully made love” to her while saying “This is how a real man makes love to his woman”.

Okay, but at least he didn’t go around firing guns dangerously in a deranged state – *checks more notes* – hang on, he also did that.

In Ginger Alden’s memoir, Elvis & Ginger, she details some of Elvis’ abuse, including one incident when they were in bed and she woke up to the sound of him firing a pistol off and calling it an “attention getter.”

Yeah, there’s no defending Elvis at all, he’s the worst.

It’s long overdue, Elvis.

There’s no denying that Elvis had in incredible impact on the entertainment world during his lifetime. But there’s also no denying that the “King of Rock n’ Roll” was also an awful human being with some seriously twisted tendencies and should’ve been thrown in the cancelled bin – and a jail cell – long before he died.

It’s perhaps fitting that Elvis ultimately got shuffled off this mortal coil while sitting on the bog. It’s what a predator like him deserves.

The New Lion King Remake Character Posters Are Lit But There's One Important Thing Missing

At least Beyoncé and Nala look regal AF.

We’re only a couple of weeks away before the highly anticipated remake of The Lion King arrives on July 19 under a wave of heavy scrutiny from hordes of fans hoping it’ll live up to the original 1994 animated masterpiece.

With the finish line in sight, director Jon Favreau has decided to get the hype ball rolling even faster by releasing a bunch of new posters featuring the cast engaging in a staring contest with their characters. While we had some concerns over the previous batch of character posters, these new ones are actually pretty frigging stunning.

There’s something spine-tingling seeing Donald Glover looking at Simba and Chiwetel Ejiofor looking at Scar (sorry Jeremy Irons), but the bulk of the attention has been on Beyoncé and Nala, which is completely understandable because, well, just look at her poster and tell me she doesn’t look regal AF.

But while these character posters go a surprisingly long way in hyping up the remake, there is one important thing missing from this batch of new promo material: Where’s Mufasa?

He’s an incredibly important part of The Lion King and it feels kind of wrong to see him missing from the character poster line up.

Okay, I’m probably being too demanding here because they managed to get James Earl Jones to voice Mufasa again so that in itself is already a win. Plus the man is nearly 90 so he’s probably not too keen to be involved in a grueling photoshoot and would rather let his voice do all the talking, literally.

Now that I think about it, it’s perhaps for the best we didn’t get a Mufasa character poster. We don’t want all the newcomers getting too emotionally attached before they experience the trauma that is the stampede scene.

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