Written by Penelope Farthing
The casting choice of Halle Bailey to be in the latest Hollywood remake, The Little Mermaid, has stirred up every social media platform and black publication. Now the question remains…who will be her prince? Personally, I hope he is anything BUT black, but since I don’t have any control over casting decisions, here’s what I think The Little Mermaid would look like if Black Love was the focus point…
Once upon a time there was a black princess mermaid named Ariel, who lived Under the Sea in Atlantica with her 6 sisters, because birth control is a foreign concept to some merpeople but whatever. She did mermaid things and had mermaid adventures much of her life, until one day she came upon a dude in distress in the water after his boat hit an iceberg or something, you know the story. Anyway, she had to save him, so she put on her cape she saved for such an occasion, and rushed to his rescue. He was pretty out of it, but while he drifted in and out of consciousness, he saw her face. Ariel had to swim off before she was discovered and disappeared under the sea. Eric fully woke up soon after and was greeted by his servant, and he described her saying “A girl…she rescued me…she was… pretty… for a black girl”.
So now Ariel is in love with dude, the plot moves along, and she goes to the villain of the story, Ursula, for some guidance. Since her mom was dead, there were no older wiser women around to hip her to the game of men, she instead sought the expertise of the Detour Friend (copyright to Kendall St. Charles). Ariel being a Silly Little Girl (© KsC) gave away her voice to get some legs to go to the surface and meet her man. Yikes.
This is where the tale diverts from the Disney story, as black people, even black royalty and black mermaids, are no stranger to foolish behavior and the struggle love narrative.
Eric recognized Ariel as his caped rescuer, and tried to shoot his shot.
“It’s you!” he declared, “You rescued me!”
Ariel nodded with a smile.
“Girl you look like a snack! What’s your name baby girl?” he asked her.
But Ariel, who gave away her power for some man she 1) didn’t know and who 2) didn’t earn it, could only clutch her throat because her voice was trapped in a nautilus shell 20,000 leagues under the sea.
“Oh, you got laryngitis? That’s alright, a woman’s place is to be seen and not heard anyway. Lemme take you out on a date!”
Thrilled, Ariel accepted his invitation and prepared for her night out.
Come to find out, Eric took her to a coffee shop so they could “catch a vibe” first. Ariel ignored the red flag of the cheap ass excuse for a date, and the vibe was caught, and at the end, he asked her to split the bill. Being from Atlantica Ariel didn’t know better, so she happily paid her 50%, plus tip! Eric was pleased, he done secured himself a bag!
Plot moves along, Ariel gets her voice back, blah, blah, blah, whatever.
So now Ariel and Eric are seeing each other, officially, and she, with her voice back, asks “What are we?” Eric hems and haws and just says, “you’re my girl!” Ariel didn’t know any better so she accepted it. She was allured by his swagger and did not heed wisdom. He missed when she was voiceless.
After moving in together, and numerous requests to “hold $50”, Ariel was really getting annoyed by the lack of definition of their relationship, but she loved him despite his flaws was happy to have a man. She worked up the courage and asked when they were going to get married, and he balked at the idea, saying it was just a piece of paper and marriage is for white princes. Ariel foolishly stayed after this revelation. Even though other princes from other lands were settling down, and even though Eric knew Ariel was a great catch, something niggled him in the back of his mind was that maybe, just maybe, since he was the epitome of an Ideal Black Man (impeccably handsome, educated at the finest schools in the land, generational wealth, and of course, the BBC, etc.), he could do better than Ariel, and he didn’t want to remove himself from his available options just yet. There were plenty more fish in the sea, as it were.
One thing led to another, and Ariel got pregnant, and she fell into the statistic of unwed motherhood. The baby shower was super-extravagant because deep down they knew there would be no wedding (© KsC), so the shower would be the substitute. Even though Eric came from a wealthy 2-parent household, he was not raised in a vacuum and he followed in the footsteps of other idiots around him, helping sire a bastard heir to not one but two kingdoms. Instead of tending to his royal patronages like other princes of other lands, Eric wanted to work on his mix tape because he knew his flow was fire, so Ariel was made to work her entire pregnancy and spend more of her dwindling inheritance to cover the bills as Eric chased his dream far and wide to be a rapper.
Time marched on and Ariel had her baby, Melody. But Eric had not found rapping success and much of Ariel’s inheritance was spent on essentials for the new bundle of joy. In his rapping adventures, Eric spent pretty much all his own fortune to embody the rapper persona, buying useless stuff to keep up with the Joneses. At first, Eric was all about the new father life, but then eventually the thrill faded. He was home less and less, doing who knows what. Rumor has it he had a family on the other side of the kingdom, but no one knew for sure. Ariel shouldered much of the burden, as her baby daddy was nowhere to be found. After a while he stopped coming around, and the only explanation she got was “baby I’m busy I’ll be home soon”.
Ariel finally realized she’s been had, and that she was now, officially, a single mother. With finances a struggle and the human world none too kind to mermaid high school diplomas, leaving her underemployed, she put Eric on child support. Eric was pissed, and complained all over social media that he had to give money to help with the care of his own child, not caring or realizing how bad it made him look.
Ariel eventually got her life on track and finished college, opened a sweet little business called Thingamajig and thrived. She did not make the same mistake again, and made sure she got on reliable birth control to prevent further unwanted pregnancies. Melody did well too, in spite of her absentee father. Despite being a literal Disney princess, Ariel told her daughter the truth about men and the errors of her own experience so that Melody would not make the same mistakes herself. The generational curse was broken before it could properly form.
Time marched on and now Melody was graduating high school. She nor her mother hadn’t heard from Eric in many years, so imagine their surprise when he rolled up to the graduation ceremony as if he had helped Melody get there.
Ariel was wiser now and told him to be on his way, not swayed by his apologies and promises to do better. Melody walked right on by her deadbeat dad to her mom, who made the best out of a bad choice and did not let Melody suffer for it.
Melody was far better equipped for the dating world thanks to her mother’s wisdom she shared over the years, and rather than stay loyal to the race, or be lured by things that didn’t matter in the long run, when it was her turn to enter the dating and mating world, she picked the best man for the job, and lived happy ever after.