4 min read

The Little Mermaid Can Talk To A Crab But She Can't Be Black?

The Little Mermaid Can Talk To A Crab But She Can't Be Black?

For those of you too busy to check in on the RADII website every day, we’ve got you every Tuesday with a summary of all we got on China’s youth culture from the last week. In this edition:

  • Photoshopped pictures of actress Halle Bailey have circulated the Chinese internet and sparked heated discussions about beauty standards.
  • Louis Vuitton pulled out all the stops to throw a memorable event in Aranya, an artsy coastal community in the North China city of Qinhuangdao.
  • The controversy surrounding Chinese milk tea brand SexyTea is just the latest installment in a larger debate over sexual mores in China.
  • The new tile-matching game ‘Sheep A Sheep’ is addictive and challenging, with merely 0.1% of its players managing to finish and over 60m people played this impossible game daily.

Intrigued? Keep scrolling, my friend.

Disney’s Live-Action ‘Little Mermaid’ Gets ‘Whitefaced’ by Netizens

On September 9, Walt Disney Animation dropped a new trailer for the live-action remake of its 1989 animated feature film The Little Mermaid, which got tongues wagging.

Haters on Twitter have criticized the quality of the special effects in the teaser, while others have complained about the casting — specifically, choosing Halle Bailey, an African-American singer and actress, for the titular role.

The controversy first exploded in 2019 when Disney announced the cast for the upcoming remake. The hashtag #NotMyAriel began trending on Twitter, and many netizens claimed that Ariel could not be dark-skinned.

The release of the teaser three years later has revived similar ill feelings and taken a shocking turn. On the Chinese social media platform Xiaohongshu, several users have shared photoshopped versions of still images from the teaser.

In the altered photos, Bailey’s skin color is significantly lighter, and her eyes are blue. Furthermore, her facial features have also been distorted to the point where she looks like a completely different person. Captions accompanying the images read “Ariel in my eyes,” or “My Ariel.”

“I admit she is beautiful, but I really can't accept her as Ariel!” reads one disapproving comment.

Female Androgyny From 1930s Lies at Forefront of Seventyfive’s Fashion

Brandstorm is a series in which we feature the most notable fashion, beauty, and retail brands in China. From edgy jewelry designers to coveted influencers, these are some of the industry’s most talked-about names.

Founded by Jenny Jingyi Ye, clothing brand Seventyfive draws inspiration from historical Chinese fashion, especially styles from the 1930s, while also upholding sustainability.

Born in Guangzhou and raised in China and Vancouver, the designer expresses her thoughts in a carefree mix of English, Cantonese, and Mandarin, and her sensibilities through fashion, a medium she deems more versatile and universal than language.

Boasting a prestigious academic background (Paris Central Saint Martin and London’s College of Arts), Ye has formed high-profile partnerships with the likes of London Fashion Week and bi-monthly British online magazine Dazed.

While some collections feel like fashion for fashion’s sake, Ye’s work is grounded in innovative research methods and powerfully connects garment production with East Asian history and social issues.

We spoke to Ye to learn more about the brand, which is breaking temporal, cultural, and gender boundaries.

  • The recently-released Chinese TV program Gentlemen of East 8th is almost universally hated, evidenced by its 2.1 out of 10 rating on the media review platform Douban. Portrayed by Zhang Han, the lead character has been described by viewers as ‘pig hands’.
  • It’s no secret that Western luxury giants have prioritized the Chinese market. Recently, French brand Louis Vuitton took this courtship even further by hosting a full-fledged, three-day runway show at a beachside venue two hours away from Beijing by train.

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