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Dr. G Featured in “Pop Junctions” website!

Got some exciting news!! I have recently taken on a role as a regular contributor and editor with the academic website, Pop Junctions:Reflections on Entertainment, Pop Culture, Activism, Media Literacy, Fandom and More. On this site you can find a plethora of articles/posts discussing media & technology, to comic books, to social media, to gaming, to fandom and much more.

With all the conversations and reactions surrounding the teaser trailer of the upcoming spring film “The Little Mermaid” myself and another colleague of mine Bethan Jones decided to put digital pen to paper and share some of our thoughts. The piece is titled, “Part of Your World”: Fairy Tales, Race, #BlackGirlMagic, and The Little Mermaid.”

Here are a few excerpts…

In 2016 Disney announced a live-action adaptation of its 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid. Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s 1837 fairy tale, the animation earned critical acclaim, took $84 million at the domestic box office during its initial release, and won two Academy Awards (for Best Original Score and Best Original Song). Given Disney’s recent foray into creating live-action adaptations of some of its most successful animated films, it’s no surprise that The Little Mermaid was added to the list. Yet controversy rose when Black actress Halle Bailey was announced as Ariel in July 2019. Among the critiques was the argument that the adaptation should be as close to the original as possible, and the original featured a white mermaid; that if a Black character was re-cast as white in a remake there would be uproar; and while representation in all forms is important it shouldn’t override the history of the characters…

Jones, “Part of Your World”: Fairy Tales, Race, #BlackGirlMagic, and The Little Mermaid

We even provided some history and background into the significance and importance of Black mermaids.

While the original fairy tale from Hans Christian Andersen does describe Ariel’s character as “her skin was as clear and delicate as a rose-leaf, and her eyes as blue as the deepest sea” this does not mean that there were no mermaids who were of color. In fact, water spirits and Black mermaids existed even before Christian Andersen’s 1837 fairy tale. It is important to note the global history of mermaids and water spirits due to the fact that the existence of Black characters in fantasy, magical realism, and science-fiction is often non-existent. If we think about this from an Afrofuturistic lens, these early Western tales did not see Black characters as even being a part of these narratives. The waters have always been seen as a sacred space literally and figuratively within African folklore. Housed within many African traditions, the water serves as a bridge between otherworlds, life and the afterlife. And the sea deity Mami Wata or La Sirene (which translates as Mother Water or Mother of Water) serves as the beginnings of many African mythical tales.

Gipson, “Part of Your World”: Fairy Tales, Race, #BlackGirlMagic, and The Little Mermaid

It was a lot of fun co-writing this piece and contributing to the conversation!!

To check out the full post/article see here!!