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22nd Sep 2022

Halle Bailey addresses backlash over black Ariel in new Little Mermaid film

Steve Hopkins

Halle Bailey has taken the backlash in her stride

The Little Mermaid star Halle Bailey has released a video where she has once again addressed the backlash over her casting as Ariel in Disney’s live-action version of the classic cartoon.

Since a trailer for the reboot of the classic 1989 cartoon film was shown to Disney insiders during the D23 Expo earlier this month, The Little Mermaid hasn’t stopped making headlines. Some, have a problem with the fact Bailey isn’t caucasian, others with the visual effects. YouTube disabled the dislike counter on the trailer after more than 2m people gave it a thumbs down.

Speaking in a new video posted on her YouTube channel, Bailey addressed the backlash, taking it all in her stride.

“With all of the commentary and people’s opinions going on, it just reminds me to be grounded and grateful that I have this opportunity,” she began.

Bailey added: “I know what it would’ve meant to me as a little girl to have been able to see a Black Ariel. If I would’ve seen that, it would have changed my whole outlook on life.”

The comments have been well received. One fan wrote on YouTube: “Yooo (sic) look at all that grace this young woman has after all the dirt y’all threw on her for being talented, she laughed all y’all off and so did we! Halle you are apart of Black History, and truly a good role models not just for young girls but humanity.”

Bailey’s words echo the sentiment shared by a lot of mothers on social media, who have shared their children’s excited reaction to seeing Ariel for the first time.

Bailey previously told People how she felt “grateful” for being able to bring the character to life for young Black children, saying: “The fact that now it’s getting to be played by me, a person who looks like me, woman of colour, I’m just like, wow, I’m so grateful for what it will do for all the other little Black and brown boys and girls who will see themselves in me.

“Because I know if I had seen myself when I was younger, I think my whole perspective would’ve changed.”

And in the lead up to the release, she shared her excitement at playing the role with E! News, saying: “I’m so excited about this film. You know being here today is so surreal. I’m just a fan of all of the other projects and the fact that I get to be a part of something like this. It’s amazing.”

She went on: “I definitely think that because I love this movie so much, and I’ve treasured it since I was a little girl, I did put a bit of pressure on myself. Just because I want to deliver all of the feels that I saw when I was a little girl.” Bailey added: “Knowing that gave it my all and gave 110 percent into everything of this film, I am really proud of myself.”

The Little Mermaid arrives in cinemas in May, 2023.

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