Look, if I have to be out here with my sword and shield every day between now and May 26, when the live-action The Little Mermaid comes out, I will. I am defending Halle Bailey at all costs. From the moment her casting as Ariel was announced, the singer/actress has been the target of racist online trolls who can’t possibly live in a world where a Black girl is a Disney princess. Every time a new trailer is released, she has to endure a new round of harassment and nonsense. In a cover interview with The Face, Bailey discussed how she’s learned to ignore the negativity.
“As a Black person, you just expect it and it’s not really a shock anymore,” she said. ”When [Chlöe and I] first signed to Parkwood, [Beyoncé] was always like: ’I never read my comments. Don’t ever read the comments.’ Honestly, when the teaser came out, I was at the D23 Expo and I was so happy. I didn’t see any of the negativity.”
I also attended the 2022 D23 Expo, and I can tell you that in a room full of diehard Disney fans, there was nothing but love for Halle. The entire “Part of Your World” sequence was screened, and she received a standing ovation. These people who keep losing their minds about a Black woman being Ariel do not represent real fans. Reasonable people are excited to see an update of the story. They also understand why it’s important to see Bailey as a Disney princess.
“I know people are like: ’It’s not about race.’ But now that I’m her…People don’t understand that when you’re Black there’s this whole other community,” she said. “It’s so important for us to see ourselves.”
If you still can’t get why this is so important, look no further than the sweet reactions of little Black girls seeing an Ariel who looks like them. This isn’t just about the live-action remake of an animated movie, it’s about representation and inspiration. Halle Bailey has handled everything thrown at her by these trolls with class, courage and grace. She has embodied the ideals of a Disney princess through all of this. Ursula is no match for her.
Starring Halley Bailey as Ariel; Daveed Diggs as the voice of Sebastian; Jonah Hauer-King as Eric; Noma Dumezweni as Queen Selina; Javier Bardem as King Triton; and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, The Little Mermaid splashes into theaters May 26.