You’re a poor, unfortunate soul if you think Ursula from The Little Mermaid should be played by anyone other than a black woman or a black drag queen.
And if you don’t agree (not that I care), I’ll explain ...
So rumor has it, Disney is eyeing Lady Gaga to play Ursula in a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid and I think black-ass not. Growing up, Ariel and the homies were all I watched. I woke up and went to sleep viewing the film. I had The Little Mermaid clothing, memorabilia and action figures. My obsession with wanting to be a part of that world should have told my mother all she needed to know about my sexuality, but alas, denial.
Needless to say, Ariel and her fish friends were an integral part of my childhood, but one character stood out to me and that was the HSIC (Head Seawitch In Charge), Ursula. The character of Ursula was based on the drag queen Divine, and if Disney is casting this role, it should stick to this inspiration.
Growing up, I used to imagine that characters who were painted a random color were black—from Space Jams’ Monstars to Genie in Aladdin—and Ursula’s purple skin, accompanied by her mannerisms, played into that theory. Divine was a Maryland-born drag queen and a lot of her mannerisms reminded me of blacks from the South—so Ursula must have some Southern roots in her.
While the “Mother Monster” persona of Gaga’s many iterations might work as Ursula for some, for me, it does not. This role deserves a certain amount of heft and should be played by someone who fits both the size and the dramatic personality of the original character.
If Disney needs some help, I’ve compiled a list of worthy candidates for this role:
RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10 contestant and Bronx bombshell Monet X Change has the personality and chops to match Ursula’s personality.
Purse first! Bob the Drag Queen is that one queen whose theatrics would make for an entertaining re-enactment of Ursula.
Danielle Brooks has the voice and the talent that’ll be needed to snatch any mermaids voice this side of the Atlantic.
Queen Latifah did a whole entire photo shoot and literally brought Ursula to life!
Jilly from Philly has the sass and the vocal talent to blow this character out of the water.
Tituss played Beyoncé, so he can literally do anything on God’s green earth.