Disney had a non-white (and deaf) mermaid long before Halle Bailey's 'controversial' casting




Fellow millennials, do you remember that glorious time period in the early '90s when our favorite Disney movies had their own cartoon series? They even had some pretty Marvel-worthy crossovers, like when Hercules ended up meeting Jafar and Aladdin had a run-in with Hades in the same episode. Good times.

“The Little Mermaid” was included in this movie-turned-series line-up. And during its run, the spin-off show introduced Gabriela, a non-white and deaf mermaid. Yes, as it turns out—Disney has always imagined it to be diverse under the sea.

Ariel first meets Gabriela and her octopus companion (an ASL interpreter) Ollie in an episode titled “Wish Upon a Starfish." The character, described as Latina on Disney Wiki, was based on a real young girl who loved the original film but tragically passed away at the age of 2 of leukemia. You can check out their first encounter below.

Yes, that is the voice of Jodi Benson (the original Ariel) singing.




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