Singer and actress Halle Bailey has been the talk of the town in the Disney community in recent months after she was cast in the role of Ariel in the upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, a 1989 animated Disney princess movie that still holds a special place in many Disney fans’ hearts.
Unfortunately, many people (“pathetic” people, as Disney Legend Josh Gad called them) protested against Bailey’s casting in the role and declared that they would refuse to accept a “Black Ariel.”
Bailey has remained composed and risen above those people’s cruel comments ever since her casting was announced, and the young woman revealed why she doesn’t let their racism “affect” her in a new interview with British Vogue.
“I don’t really let that affect me,” Bailey said plainly in the interview. “I mean, I grew up in Georgia. I’m from the Deep South,” she explained. “Being a Black woman, in general, you just know the way things are and how people sometimes are just blatantly racist.”
Bailey specifically cited her grandparents’ experiences when explaining why she still feels like “the luckiest girl in the world” despite the amount of racist hatred being sent her way.
“My nana would see her family picking cotton and she experienced being restricted to only drinking from a certain water fountain, and the paper bag test,” Bailey continued.
According to British Vogue, “the ‘brown paper bag test’ to which Bailey refers is the discriminatory practice of barring darker-skinned African Americans admittance to various social institutions. The so-called test, a legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, continued well into the 20th century.”
“When I hear my grandparents’ stories, I feel like I’m the luckiest girl in the world,” Bailey finished. “All of that hate I got is nothing compared to what my ancestors lived in their lifetime.”
As the premiere of The Little Mermaid comes closer and closer, more and more news about the Disney film — from its new “four-dimensional” version of Prince Eric to its surprising Bridgerton mermaid inclusion– has been coming to light from below the depths.
Are you excited to see this Disney film? Do you admire Halle Bailey for staying positive despite the number of protests against a mermaid with her skin color?