Asian Star of THE LITTLE MERMAID Faces Discrimination on Tour
Diana Huey is currently starring in the national tour of Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID, and according to Gusto, the Asian actress is facing unfair criticism based solely on her race. Huey says she would scroll through Facebook and see comments about how Ariel is a white woman, not Asian-American, something she says is hard not to take personally.
The blowback became especially difficult in the South where Huey says she visited the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis in order to inspire herself to stand up to the mistreatment. Then she says she had a moving experience in Nashville where an Asian mother and daughter approached her.
"The mom pulled me aside and said, 'The second I saw that you were playing Ariel, I just burst into tears for the sake of my daughter being able to see that.' Seeing a little Asian girl in a place where there aren't a lot of Asians, it reminds me how important it is to say diversity matters and being open-minded matters and equality matters." Huey says, "If I have to take the brunt of it every now and again, I will."
Huey has received tremendous support from the creatives involved in the production. When asked about his casting choice, director Glenn Casale said, "She was a good actress, she was the right age, she sings it like nobody else. We probably saw 50 Ariels, and Diana really sang it the best."
Meanwhile Japanese-American Squeaky Wheel Film and Media Art Center Executive Director Maiko Tanaka said, "1. Can she sing? 2. Can she dance? 3. It's a friggin' mermaid."
To read more, visit Gusto here.
Photo Credit: Mark & Tracy Photography