19 Julio 2017 16:04
People are unhappy that the actress chosen to play Princess Jasmine is not of Arab heritage
Disney has finally revealed the cast for its live-action adaptation of Aladdin, but people aren't too happy about their choice of actress for the lead female role.
The actress chosen to give life to Princess Jasmine is Naomi Scott, a 25-year-old British woman of Indian descent. Disney has come under fierce criticism online for choosing to cast a fair-skinned, non-Arab actress for the role.
Some have criticised the choice saying that Scott's features are not Middle Eastern. Others have voiced their frustration at Disney's assumption that women of Indian and Middle Eastern Heritage are 'essentially interchangeable'.
'If I keep reading Naomi Scott was the perfect choice because "no Arab women can sing/act like her" I’m going to drop a thread on those who can do better,' said one Twitter user.
Others couldn't see what all the fuss was about. 'You are complaining that Naomi Scott doesn't have brown-coloured skin to play as Princess Jasmine. Will Smith ain't Blue.'
The original animated film was based on a Middle Eastern folk tale. The story narrates the adventures of a young street urchin who is granted three wishes by the genie of the lamp. Disney's 1992 version was the highest grossing film that year.
The live-action movie – a musical – will also star Will Smith as Genie, and Mena Massoud – of Egyptian origin – as Aladdin.
Disney's Jasmine casting represents another defeat and missed opportunity for the company. They could have set a precedent by choosing someone different from their usual ideal. By casting an actress of Arab heritage and with a darker complexion, Disney could have affected a paradigm shift, inspiring millions of girls and boys across the Middle East and beyond.
But unfortunately, once again, they've plumped for business as usual: Disney's feminine beauty ideal continues to be Western and white (or at least women who safeguard that inheritance). In other words, it's the same old story... and the same old princesses.