Halle Bailey has some thoughts on the racism that has clouded her Little Mermaid debut.
On Thursday, the actress opened up about the racist backlash she’s had to endure after it was revealed she would be portraying the first-ever Black version of Ariel in the upcoming live-action film. She said in a new cover story for The Face:
“As a Black person, you just expect it and it’s not really a shock anymore.”
Ugh. So, so awful that she’d even have to “expect” this kind of controversy!
She went on to gush about how important this color-blind casting will be for the next generation, saying:
“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. It’s so important for us to see ourselves.”
Thankfully, when the first teaser of the Disney flick premiered, Halle was preoccupied while attending the D23 Expo, so she wasn’t paying much attention to the internet’s negative reaction. This helped her stay positive and joyful about the experience! She credits her mentor Beyoncé (whom she simply referred to as “B”) as well, saying:
“When [Chlöe and I] first signed to Parkwood, B 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.”
Well, that’s good!
In case you missed the drama, in a truly infuriating turn of events, after Disney dropped the first teaser of the highly-anticipated film — which included the first look at Halle as the iconic mermaid — haters clicked the dislike button so much, the company actually turned off the function. Not until it reached as high as 1.5 million dislikes, though, per sources. #NotMyAriel also began trending. Sigh.
And then, one person used AI to replace Halle with a CGI white woman in the clip — which is f**king disgusting! Though they claimed it was just to prove how advanced technology is and didn’t have anything to do with race, we all know that’s just BS!
We’re glad to hear the 22-year-old singer was living in the moment and soaking up all the good vibes that did come from the video! She went on to express how exciting it was to watch little Black girls respond to the trailer for the first time after many friends and family sent her reaction videos, she recalled:
“I was crying all night for two days, just staring at them in disbelief. It makes me feel more grateful for where I am. I just want to continue to heal through my art. Each project I’ve done has taught me something about myself, has given me something to live off.”
Love this! Not only are her projects healing for her, but The Little Mermaid is going to inspire so many young people of color! Everybody deserves to see themselves shine on screen — and a character as noteworthy as Ariel is going to change the game for so many! We’re glad she’s been able to rise above the hate and hope the same goes for the premiere on May 26. Thoughts? Sound OFF (below)!