Little Mermaid star Halle Bailey expected the racist backlash to her Ariel casting
The Little Mermaid star Halle Bailey has revealed she expected the backlash to her casting as Ariel.
The actress was subjected to racist remarks upon her announcement in the role in 2019, with the vitriol increasing after the first teaser trailer was released last year.
Speaking to The Face, Bailey revealed that the vile comments didn’t come as a surprise, explaining that she decided to pay little attention to the criticism following some advice from a famous friend.
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“As a Black person, you just expect it and it’s not really a shock anymore,” she began. “When [sister Chlöe and I] first signed to Parkwood, Beyoncé was always like: ‘I never read my comments. Don’t ever read the comments.’
“When the teaser came out, I was at the [Disney fan event] D23 Expo and I was so happy. I didn’t see any of the negativity,” she continued.
Bailey has been adamant about remaining positive throughout the film’s elongated production, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She previously said it was important to ignore the negativity, saying: “We've always learned to just keep our heads up no matter the situation.
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“No matter what anybody has to say about you, just keep pushing. I feel like I'm dreaming, and I'm just grateful. I don't pay attention to the negativity. I just feel like this role is something bigger than me. It's going to be beautiful,” she added.
Bailey’s performance was praised by Jodi Benson, who voiced Ariel in the original 1989 Disney animation, who said she was “so proud of [her] beautiful performance.”
The film, which is being directed by Rob Marshall, will feature new songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda as well as covers of Alan Menken’s tracks from the original film. The most recent teaser, which was released last week, offered a first look at Melissa McCarthy’s villainous Ursula.
The Little Mermaid is set to be released on May 26, 2023. The original animated version is currently available to stream on Disney+.
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