The Little Mermaid’s Real Black History and the books to prove it

Thursday 21th September

The Little Mermaid’s first iteration (1989) as a white woman stole concepts from Ancient African history. The new version of her as a Black woman was condemned and trolled in certain quarters and affected its box office performance.


Hollywood has a long history of strip mining Black history and re-presenting it as generic, with no reference to its source material.

In this interactive double presentation Dr Michelle Asantewa, Course Leader on ‘African Women Resistance Leaders: Politcal and Spiritual’ and Tony Warner, author of Black History Walks Vol 1 will illustrate

  • Racism in film production/distribution
  • White versions of African history and legends that make big money for Hollywood
  • African civilisations pre-European invasion
  • Brazil, Cuba, Nigeria, Panama and Streatham
  • Why ‘we don’t want a Black mermaid’ and who is ‘we’
  • Black rip off historians and sell outs
  • Black Goddesses and White Patriachy, can they co-exist
  • Black women in publishing successes and inspiration

Dr Michelle Asantewa is the author of ‘In Search of Mami Wata : Narratives and Images of African Water Spirits’. She is also convenor of the increasingly popular Osun river festival 13th August 2023 as featured on BBC Sunday Morning show 6th August.

Tony Warner is Chair of the African Odysseys film programme, which has shown Black films once a month for the last 17 years at the BFI Southbank

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