Now People Are Upset About Disney Casting A Black Actress To Play Tinker Bell

Disney has been trying to be diversely inclusive in their casting towards Disney remakes so that a range of actors can audition for roles that were previously played by white actors. But some casting decisions have caused backlash, like when Black actress Halle Bailey experienced racist backlash for her Disney casting as Ariel in The Little Mermaid. Now one of Disney’s other upcoming movies. Peter Pan & Wendy, has been experiencing backlash for the same reason, namely hiring a Black actress to take on the role of Tinker Bell.

Disney’s live-action remake of Peter Pan has found its Tinker Bell in Black-ish actress Yara Shahidi. In a world where celebrities boycotted the Oscars for not being racially inclusive in the nominees, you would think this casting announcement would be good news to all. However, it looks like people still find fault in POC characters playing roles originally played by white actresses like this Twitter user's post below. 

So instead of giving poc their own movies or making new movies with poc characters, they decided to just make white characters black for some reason to be like heey we are so accepting we support everyone.. this is so weird, other then princess and the frog there isnt any other.

It appears this Twitter user believes that Disney should make original movies written for Black actors compared to having POC play characters originally played by white actors. While this user mentioned The Princess and the Frog, Disney has been creating other great animated movies and TV shows that center on Black characters like Soul and The Proud Family. Another tweet pointed out who they would have picked to play Tinker Bell.

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Dove Cameron’s blonde hair and fair skin do resemble the Tinker Bell we’ve seen in the 1953 classic and the direct-to-video CGI film series. On the other hand, it looks like this Descendants actress has been trying to shed her Disney image with her future film projects and music career. A third tweeter posted a question about why there's a need for casting decisions to literally be “black or white” thinking.

ngl i’ve been seeing a lot of race swapping white characters to black but how come we never see them swap them to an asian character or a middle eastern one? a latin one or polynesian ?? like it’s not just white or black

As you can see in the Peter Pan & Wendy trailer, there's a mix of white, Black and Asian young actors playing the Lost Boys (and apparently girls). British actor Alexander Molony, who plays Peter Pan, appears to be of mixed-race descent. They even managed to cast Nehiyaw (Cree) Canadian-Indigenous actor Alyssa Wapanatâhk to play Tiger Lily. This should reduce backlash on that end compared to when white actress Rooney Mara played Tiger Lily in Joe Wright’s Pan and received whitewashing backlash because of that. This Twitter post believed casting a Black actress would be shedding away Tinker Bell’s appearance trademarks.

but tinker bells iconic look is literally the blonde hair n blue eyes. nothing wrong with the loose representation but why keep changing shit that already has a staple look

This comment could be coming from how Halle Bailey in The Little Mermaid remake committed to Ariel’s red hair. But with the latest actress portraying Tinker Bell being of Black, Iranian and Native American descent, now kids of this generation will see a new look in everyone’s favorite fairy. A social media post found racism in the Tinker Bell casting, feeling it’s a representation of Disney's failure to provide original stories and new Black characters.

Disney couldn’t care less about making new stories with Poc characters, they just put poc ppl to play white characters, and that shows 1) how lazy Disney is 2) how racist this is, it’s like they don’t think poc ppl deserve their own stories (beside like 3 animated movies?)

While the backlash may exist in the casting of Yara Shahidi to play Peter Pan’s fairy sidekick, there have been positive tweets showing support for the actress, like this particular post.

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With Tinker Bell having always been a fictional character, this leaves room for anyone to be able to play her, as Peter Pan playwright J.M. Barrie never said Tinker Bell had to be white, just the jealous, yet kind fairy to the boy who never grew up. Another made sure to point out in their honest post about the representation Halle Bailey and Yara Shahidi are bringing to Black representation.

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It looks like the casting of a Black actress playing Tinker Bell has hit a nerve with Twitter users used to the traditional white actress playing her, as well as wishing for Disney to create more original POC stories. Then there are people happy to see Black representation growing in Disney movies. Be prepared to think lovely thoughts of Peter Pan & Wendy flying into your Disney+ subscription on April 28th.

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.