One Twitter user emphasized
just how important representation was for her. “As a white-skinned redhead, I have very strong feelings about #TheLittleMermaid. Ariel changed my ginger world. The mean ‘jokes’ ended. I became envied for my hair. And you know what? I want little black girls to experience that same feeling with new Ariel.”
Ariel can be any race, because race is a social construct, and mermaids can be whatever color we please, because they don’t exist. If we’re going to go by the source material, the representation in ancient mythology fully supports fluidity between retellings.
“We have dozens and dozens of versions [of myths] because everybody re-conceptualizes them through their own lens,” Kennedy said, explaining that Athenians, Spartans, Corinthians and the like each had their own versions. “To try to create them and craft them into singular versions that can’t ever be changed is fundamentally opposed to how myths functioned in the ancient world where they were created.” In short, bring on the black mermaids in the wine-colored seas.