Melanin Mermaids

By Jittaun Taylor

When it was first announced that Halle Bailey would be playing Ariel in the live-action Little Mermaid, I was excited! As a black woman, I always love when our community is represented because of representation matters from childhood to adulthood. While the majority of people were thrilled about this, some people spewed hatred and racism. This made me sad and extremely disappointed. It’s 2020, and people are mad about a beautiful and talented black woman playing a mythical creature. I was extremely disappointed when I saw the hashtag #notmyariel and all the racist memes that came soon after. Black women are the most disrespected group in this country, and every black woman I know has experienced some type of disrespect because of their race. We’ve been told so many times that we don’t fit the mold and that’s not fair. I believe that little black girls deserve to be represented on the big screen. When they see someone that looks like them in any facet of life, it builds their confidence. After seeing this, I knew I had to style this shoot. I had styled five other shoots before, but this one held a special place in my heart. I wouldn’t have been able to make this shoot a reality without my friend Reyam Hadi who co-styled and creative directed this shoot, my cousin Michelle Chilton who helped me make the crowns, my makeup artist Adrienne Walton, and our photographer Katy Bilek. A group shot from this shoot was later reposted on Chloe and Halle Bailey’s Instagram story and people reached out to me told me how the shoot impacted them. I’m happy that this shoot was able to show that representation matters. 

Models: Tamia Cook, Antonia Richardson, Brianna Canada, Aries Delae

Behind The Scenes Note: All the bras were hand-painted and decorated by us!