Actress Halle Bailey made headlines when she landed her breakout role as Princess Ariel in the upcoming Disney live-action remake movie The Little Mermaid. The Chloe x Halle singer has been in the spotlight with her older sister, Chlöe Bailey, since they embarked on their musical careers in the early 2010s, and Halle has also made a name for herself on television through roles such as Grown-ish

Although Halle is enjoying her newfound Disney princess status, the Color Purple star has faced racist backlash ever since the network announced that she was cast as Ariel in 2019. Nevertheless, the Grammy Award nominee isn’t letting the negativity bring her down.  

Keep reading to learn everything that Halle has said about starring in the Disney film. 

How Did Halle Bailey React to ‘The Little Mermaid’ Backlash? 

After the “Cool People” artist was cast in 2019, countless fans of Halle applauded her for the huge opportunity. However, others took to social media with racist remarks about her casting, with many pointing out that the original animated character is white.

Nearly four years later, Halle broke her silence on the matter in a February 2023 interview with The Face.  

“As a Black person, you just expect it, and it’s not really a shock anymore,” Bailey explained to the outlet. “When [Chlöe and I] first signed to Parkwood, [Beyoncé] 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.”

Halle Bailey, ‘The Little Mermaid’: Quotes, Backlash, More
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Halle also pointed out that she has seen certain critics note, “It’s not about race,” but she opened up about how it’s different for her as a Black woman. 

“But now that I’m her … people don’t understand that when you’re Black, there’s this whole other community,” the Georgia native continued. “It’s so important for us to see ourselves.”

Despite the grueling scrutiny she’s received, Halle recalled the moment when she found sweet social media videos circulating online of Black children reacting happily to seeing her as Ariel for the first time.  

“I was crying all night for two days, just staring at them in disbelief,” the “Kids Are All Right” singer said. “It makes me feel more grateful for where I am.”

What Has Halle Bailey Said About ‘The Little Mermaid’ Casting? 

Once production wrapped in July 2021, Halle took to Instagram to explain how much the film means to her. 

“After auditioning for this film when I was 18 just about to turn 19, to now finishing filming through a pandemic when I turned 21, we have finally made it,” she captioned her post at the time. “I feel so grateful to have experienced this film in all of its glory.” 

Her work on the film was Halle’s “toughest experience” because she was “away from everything and everyone [she’s] ever known.” On top of that, the guitar player faced “self-doubt” and “loneliness” during production. 

Nevertheless, Halle mentioned the “freedom and perseverance” that she developed over time. 

“This experience has made me so much stronger than I ever thought I could be,” Halle concluded.

Who Is in the ‘Little Mermaid’ Cast? 

Apart from Halle, The Little Mermaid live-action film has a star-studded cast that fans are excited to see. Comedian Melissa McCarthy is portraying the evil sea witch, Ursula, while Javier Bardem plays Ariel’s protective father, King Triton. 

As for the princess’ love interest, Eric is played by English actor Jonah Hauer-King

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