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‘Little Mermaid’ Actress Responds to ‘Black Ariel’ Criticisms

halle bailey little mermaid ariel

When the new teaser trailer for the live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid was released earlier this month, responses were certainly mixed. Some Disney Fanatics loved seeing singer Halle Bailey in her Ariel costume, singing “Part of Your World” and showing off her vocal abilities. Others were ambivalent and preferred the original 1989 version of the mermaid Disney princess — and others reacted very negatively to Halle Bailey’s version of the character.

Halle Bailey recently shared her own response to the naysayers’ opinions on her addition to the Disney princess roster, since the performer has received a tremendous amount of hate from people online since the teaser trailer was revealed and her version of Ariel joined the Disney princesses. Take a look at the video below to see what Halle Bailey has to say about her performance as “Black Ariel”!

Halle Bailey

Halle Bailey in front of Cinderella’s Castle Credit: Disney

Halle Bailey (who first became well-known after she and her sister, Chloe, were taken under Beyonce’s wing as the Chloe x Halle duo) did not shy away from addressing haters’ comments in her Youtube video (which was shared on her own channel).

“With all of the commentary and people’s opinions going on, it just reminds me to be number one, grounded and grateful that I have this opportunity,” the singer (who stars in the Little Mermaid film opposite comedian Melissa McCarthy, who plays Ursula) said in her video. “I know what it would’ve meant to me as a little girl to have been able to see a Black Ariel when I was younger,” she added. “If I would’ve seen that, it would have changed my whole outlook on life.”

Bailey also commented on the memes that have been going around regarding her role, saying that she laughs at them, finds many of them “quite frankly hilarious”, and thinks it is “really cool that people care this much.”

Halle Bailey, The Little Mermaid

Halle Bailey as Ariel the little mermaid, a Disney princess who falls in love with a prince (Prince Eric) and heads to shore. Credit: Disney

“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,” Bailey also emphasized in a People interview. “Because I know if I had seen myself when I was younger, I think my whole perspective would’ve changed.”

Bailey was defended by her fellow live-action Disney princess Rachel Zegler, who plays Snow White in an upcoming adaptation opposite Gal Gadot (who plays the Evil Queen) and who has dealt with plenty of her own haters (including, possibly, the Academy).

Zegler made it clear in a post on social media that she supports Halle Bailey in her role as Ariel, too!

Bailey also made it clear in a recent interview that she “did put a bit of pressure on [herself]” while filming the Disney movie. “Just because I want to deliver all of the feels that I saw when I was a little girl,” the actress explained.

The comments on Halle’s video have been very supportive for the most part, with fans calling her “a class act” for refusing to respond to haters’ negativity with anything more than good humor and gratitude. Other fans have indicated that her approach makes her even more appropriate for a Disney princess role!

Are you excited to see the new version of The Little Mermaid?

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!

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