Halle Bailey 'shocked' by response to ‘Little Mermaid’ casting

GAME CHANGER: Halle Bailey to be first black voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid

GAME CHANGER: Halle Bailey to be first black voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid

Published Mar 23, 2023


Halle Bailey was "shocked" by the racist abuse she received following her casting in “The Little Mermaid”.

The 22-year-old singer-and-actress was revealed in 2019 to be portraying Ariel in Disney's upcoming live-action remake of the classic animated adventure and while she received a slew of unpleasant comments, she insisted the trolling was offset by the joy of being able to inspire young girls.

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She told Edition magazine: “Seeing the world’s reaction to it was definitely a shock.

“But seeing all the babies’ reactions, all the brown and black young girls, really tore me up emotionally.

“It’s honestly been such a crazy ride, and I genuinely feel shocked and honoured and grateful to be in this position. A lot of times, I have to pinch myself and be like, is this real life?”

The “Do It” hitmaker credited her role in the film for helping her to grow up.

She explained: "I feel like I learned so much through her. I auditioned when I was 18, got the role when I was 19, and I turn 23 this year. So I genuinely feel like [Ariel’s] helped me grow up.

"I pushed myself as far as I’ve ever pushed myself in life. And I feel like the message from her was to know that you’ve always had it in you.”

While the animated “Little Mermaid” faced criticism for being sexist, Bailey insisted the new take celebrates "independent, modern" women.

She said: “I’m really excited for my version of the film because we’ve definitely changed that perspective of just her wanting to leave the ocean for a boy.

“It’s way bigger than that. It’s about herself, her purpose, her freedom, her life and what she wants.

“As women we are amazing, we are independent, we are modern, we are everything and above. And I’m glad that Disney is updating some of those themes.”