“Allow me to re-introduce myself. MY NAME IS HOV OH”–Alright, we can both agree that I do not need to do all of that. Can we also agree that I do not need to explain why I have not posted on this blog for m-o-n-t-h-s? Yes?! I can’t see what you are doing with your head right now, so I am going to pretend that it is nodding. YES!
As always, time is doing that thing where it keeps on going no matter how much I will it to chill the hell out and slow down. Can you believe I am about to turn 23? And don’t–DO NOT–start with that nonsense about 23 being my “Jordan year.” That popular phrase is a reference to Michael Jordan’s jersey number, NOT his age. At 23, Michael Jordan was already one of the most prolific young players in the NBA. At 23, I am set to be one of the most prolific patrons at my local Chipotle.
Believe it or not, I came back to this blog for reasons OTHER than self-deprecation. But, I still have to face the facts; I’m getting old and have to start making some serious changes. Most importantly, I have to put more mental energy towards my big girl goals like advancing in my career, contributing to my 401(k), and rolling my burrito intake back to only three times a week. My childhood dreams of becoming an Olympian backstroker or winning Who Wants to Be A Millionaire probably aren’t going to come true (I still pray on ’em though!), so it’s time to let the childlike habits die too. It is time to WOMAN THE HELL UP.
…..But then, this happened.
ME: As a very mature individual with elevated taste, I have to say that I am so sick of all of these silly, live-action Disney movie remakes. Can’t we please teach the children something new? Something real?!?!
DISNEY: We doin’ The Little Mermaid y’all.
DISNEY: And Ariel is ’bout to be Black.
ME: I AM DISNEY, DISNEY IS MEEEE, DISNEY GIRL FOR LIFE, LET ME BE PART OF YOUR WORLD BECAUSE THE COLD NEVER BOTHERED ME ANY DAMN WAY OKAY?!?!?!?!? LET IT ALL GO BECAUSE IT’S TIME TO WATCH A DISNEY CHANNEL MOVIE, YAS MICKEY YOU SO FINE YOU SO FINE YOU BLOW MY MININDINDIDNDIN!!!!!!!
Now, I have NO shame about my fakeness. Nor do I have any shame about the sheer exuberance that bursted out of me when I found out that a young, beautiful, Black girl (with locs!!!!) named Halle Bailey would be the one bringing this timeless tale to a whole new generation. Not to toot my own horn in any of this, but I did kinda tell y’all about how dope Halle and her sister Chloe are way back in this post right here. In the words of the all-powerful Beyoncé, “I been on.”
Halle’s casting came as a bit of a shock, but falls in line with a lot of the “color crossovers” rippling through the entertainment industry today.
Quick confession: more often than not, modern day debates about “representation in Hollywood” deeply disappoint me; they are mind-numbingly surface level. Megawatt studios think slapping a brown face on a poster is enough to keep the social media call outs and clapbacks at bay, but rarely make concerted efforts to justly support women and girls of color. Lest we forget these same Disney titans were the ones who released an official poster of Avengers: End Game and credited every one of the thirteen actors featured on the poster EXCEPT for Danai Gurira–the only Black woman.
Of course, I want artists like Halle to thrive in major roles like this one. I want Black and Brown people to see their cultures, traditions, languages, stories, skins, SELVES reflected widely across television and film. But, I also want the awkward, Black, low-level, production assistant fetching everyone coffee to feel valued too.* I don’t want all the talk of representation and diversity in the industry to solely focus on what’s happening on screen. Behind the scenes, there are entire worlds of directing, writing, marketing, editing and distribution, that need rectifying too.
All that being said, the fact that there is going to be a Black mermaid spread across this screen is the primary reason why I’m going to support the hell out of this movie. Unless Disney does something truly heinous like casting one of the “Jamaican” actors from Season 2 of Luke Cage to voice Sebastian, my butt is going to be there on opening night.
In the spirit of conscious casting and inclusion, here are a few more examples of times when a Black woman’s involvement changed my opinion on something:
Me: Tennis is so boring, why do people even watch?
15-year-old Coco Gauff: *breathes*
Me: DON’T TALK TO ME, I’M WATCHING WIMBLEDON BABY!!!!!!!!!
Me: Ugh, I really have to get serious about going to the gym. My body is not ready for swimsuit season.
Megan thee Stallion: Hot girl summer begins now.
Me: EFF A BEACH BODY, I BRING MY BODY TO THE BEACH AND Y’ALL ARE GUNNA GET THESE ROLLS TODAY!!!!
Me: Luxury fashion is such a waste of money and resources. Clothes don’t mean anything.
Rihanna: I’m making a Fenty line.
Me: THIS STUFF’? OH, OK. I SEE, YOU THINK THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. YOU GO TO YOUR CLOSET AND YOU SELECT OUT, OH I DON’T KNOW, THAT LUMPY BLUE SWEATER, FOR INSTANCE, BECAUSE YOU’RE TRYING TO TELL THE WORLD THAT YOU TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY TO CARE ABOUT WHAT YOU PUT ON YOUR BACK. BUT WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW IS THAT THAT SWEATER IS NOT JUST BLUE, IT’S NOT TURQUOISE, IT’S NOT LAPIS, IT’S ACTUALLY CERULEAN. YOU’RE ALSO BLINDLY UNAWARE OF THE FACT THAT IN 2002, OSCAR DE LA RENTA DID A COLLECTION OF CERULEAN GOWNS. AND THEN I THINK IT WAS YVES ST LAURENT, WASN’T IT, WHO SHOWED CERULEAN MILITARY JACKETS? AND THEN CERULEAN QUICKLY SHOWED UP IN THE COLLECTIONS OF EIGHT DIFFERENT DESIGNERS. THEN IT FILTERED DOWN THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT STORES AND THEN TRICKLED ON DOWN INTO SOME TRAGIC “CASUAL CORNER” WHERE YOU, NO DOUBT, FISHED IT OUT OF SOME CLEARANCE BIN. HOWEVER, THAT BLUE REPRESENTS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND COUNTLESS JOBS AND SO IT’S SORT OF COMICAL HOW YOU THINK THAT YOU’VE MADE A CHOICE THAT EXEMPTS YOU FROM THE FASHION INDUSTRY WHEN, IN FACT, YOU’RE WEARING THE SWEATER THAT WAS SELECTED FOR YOU BY THE PEOPLE IN THIS ROOM. FROM A PILE OF “STUFF.”
*It’s me. I’m the awkward, Black, low-level production assistant fetching everyone coffee.