Halle Bailey Racially Targeted Over ‘Little Mermaid’ Casting
Written by Rika C on August 11, 2022
It’s already been three years since Disney announced Halle Bailey had been cast as Ariel in the upcoming live-action motion picture “The Little Mermaid.” And while many people were ecstatic by the news that a woman of color would play the role, Bailey has since revealed that she did come across many racist comments from people who were furious about the decision as the Danish character is commonly known to have blue eyes, white skin and bright red hair.
What’s more, Bailey’s casting made it the first time Disney had chosen a woman of color to play a traditionally white princess, subsequently sparking outrage and controversy among those who were clearly in disapproval. The 22-year-old has since addressed the controversy that came with landing the lead role in a new interview with Variety, admitting that she relied on the support of her grandparents, who reminded her of how many Black girls she’d inspire by taking on the gig.
“It was an inspiring and beautiful thing to hear their words of encouragement, telling me, ‘You don’t understand what this is doing for us, for our community, for all the little Black and brown girls who are going to see themselves in you,’” the “Do It” singer said.
She also touched on growing up and watching the original animated version of Ariel and pondering how a person of color playing the role while she was growing up would have changed a lot about her own self-worth and the confidence it would have given her, given that there weren’t all that many colored Disney Princesses in her adolescent years.
Director Rob Marshall announced Bailey’s casting back in July 2019, sharing, “After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role.”