R&B singer was announced as the star of Disney's upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid in early July
Halle Bailey has no time for haters.
Speaking to Variety at the Power of Young Hollywood gala Tuesday, the 19-year-old Chloe x Halle singer addressed the racist Internet comments made when she was revealed as Disney’s new Ariel in the studio’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
“I feel like I’m dreaming and I’m just grateful and I don’t pay attention to the negativity,” she told the outlet while on the red carpet. “I just feel like this role was something bigger than me and greater and it’s going to be beautiful. I’m just so excited to be a part of it.”
When Disney first announced its casting of Bailey as Ariel, some internet commenters lashed out against the idea of a black woman in the role. Fans and stars were quick to rally behind the choice — including Jodie Benson, the original voice of Ariel in the 1989 animated classic.
She praised Disney’s decision while attending Florida Supercon in July.
“I think the most important thing is to tell the story,” Benson said at the pop culture convention, as seen in a video on Instagram posted by user part.of.my.disney.world.. “We have, as a family, raised our children and for ourselves that we don’t see anything that’s different on the outside. I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters. What you bring to the table in a character as far as their heart and their spirit is what really counts.”
“We need to be storytellers,” Benson continued. “And no matter what we look like on the outside, no matter our race, our nation, the color of our skin, our dialect, whether I’m tall or thin, whether I’m overweight or underweight, or my hair is whatever color, we really need to tell the story.”
Disney’s cable network Freeform also addressed the racist comments with “An open letter to the Poor, Unfortunate Souls,” posted to Instagram.
“Yes. The original author of The Little Mermaid was Danish. Ariel…is a mermaid. She lives in an underwater kingdom in international waters and can legit swim wherever she wants (even though that often upsets King Triton, absolute zaddy),” the post read. “But for the sake of argument, let’s say that Ariel, too, is Danish.”
“Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black,” the letter continued. “Ariel can sneak up to the surface at any time with her pals Scuttle and the *ahem* Jamaican crab Sebastian (sorry, Flounder!) and keep that bronze base tight. Black Danish people, and this mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair.”
Bailey expressed her excitement for the role with a post on Twitter after her casting was revealed by Disney in July.
“Dream come true…,” she tweeted alongside the image of an Indian-American Ariel singing “Part of Your World” while waves crashed behind her.