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The Original "Little Mermaid" Just Shared Her Thoughts On Halle Bailey's Casting As Ariel

"I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters."

Disney fans got some exciting news last week when it was announced that 19-year-old actor-singer Halle Bailey has been cast as Ariel in a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

Naturally, most fans are very happy about this news. But unfortunately, there's also been a racist backlash.

Some social media users have started using the hashtag #NotMyAriel, complaining that Disney cast a black performer in the role.

And just like that @ Disney ruined the live action little mermaid. Fuck Disney #notmyariel

And some have said that because The Little Mermaid is a Danish fairy tale, Ariel should be white.

It's not a movie about mermaids ... it's about the 1989 Disney movie based on the story "The Little Mermaid" Written by Hans Christian Andersen where he describes white skin as blue eyes. Ariel is from DENMARK ... Nordic ... #NotMyAriel #Itisnotinclusive

(For a thorough and complete evisceration of this bad argument, Freeform wrote an A+ response.)

Anyway! Jodi Benson, the woman who voiced Ariel in Disney's animated film, just made an appearance at Florida Supercon. And when she was asked about the controversy, here's what she said.

“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."

Benson talked about how channeling Ariel's inner spirit is how she herself has been able to step into the role over the years, despite getting older:

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," she concluded. "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.”

So, there you have it, straight from the mouth of the original Ariel. And that's that on that!