Halle Bailey Talks Racist Backlash and Her Version of Ariel in The Little Mermaid Live-Action Movie. In a new interview following the release of a brand new teaser trailer, in which we see Ursula for the first time, Halle Bailey the actress and singer gave a candid interview with The Face. Not only does she open up about ignoring the online comments section, but she also talks about how important it was to see and hear the love she received knowing others can look up at the screen and see themselves reflected.
The singer and actor said that the backlash that arose when news broke of her being cast as mermaid Ariel — and again when the first glimpse of her in the role was revealed last fall — was not surprising. “As a Black person, you just expect it and it’s not really a shock anymore,” the Grammy nominee said. “People don’t understand that when you’re Black there’s this whole other community,” she shared. “It’s so important for us to see ourselves.”
Things were not all bad though, Ms. Bailey also mentioned that after the teaser dropped, when parents started sharing videos of their Black daughters marveling at Bailey as Ariel, she stared at them “in disbelief.” “It makes me feel more grateful for where I am,” she said.
She also went on to describe the newest version of The Little Mermaid and how it differs from the original Disney Animated Movie that started the Disney renaissance.
Related: Lin-Manuel Miranda Shares His Experience Working With Alan Menken For Disney’s Live-Action ‘The Little Mermaid’
Halle Bailey Talks Racist Backlash and Her Version of Ariel in The Little Mermaid Live-Action Movie
“What’s beautiful about this version of The Little Mermaid is that it’s a lot more modern,” says Halle. Although the original film featured Part of Your World, a quietly defiant ballad about “Bright young women sick of swimmin’ /Ready to stand”, the overarching message wasn’t exactly what you’d call feminist. Ariel literally relinquishes her voice and drastically changes her body for the man of her dreams.
“When we saw it, when we were younger, she gave up everything for the guy. But I don’t think [that] reflects modern women today. So [now] it’s more about Ariel finding freedom for herself because of this world that she’s obsessed with.” Prince Eric, the handsome shipwrecked human for whom she gives it all up, “is a cherry on top. But it’s not all about him.”
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