Halle Bailey just responded to The Little Mermaid’s Ariel casting backlash, and she’s so badass

Following Disney’s announcement in July that Halle Bailey would play Ariel in the upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, most people were super excited to see her as the newest Disney princess. But there was also some casting backlash online rooted in racism, simply because Bailey is black and the OG Ariel—a fictional animated character—is white.

When the news broke, Bailey herself tweeted that the role was a “dream come true,” and plenty of celebrities, including Halle Berry, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Zendaya, and Mariah Carey, showed their support for her on social media, helping to drown out the noise and negativity surrounding Bailey’s casting.

On August 7th, Bailey addressed the racist backlash for the first time, and her response reminds us just how much of a badass she really is.

"I feel like I’m dreaming and I’m just grateful and I don’t pay attention to the negativity," she told Variety at their Power of Young Hollywood event in Los Angeles. "I just feel like this role was something bigger than me, and greater. It’s going to be beautiful. I’m just so excited to be a part of it."

It definitely is already something so much bigger, as women of color, young and old, have been creating mermaid fan artwork showing how much the casting news has meant to them.


Of the praise she received from fellow celebrities—Berry in particular—Bailey said, “I’ve always loved Halle Berry. She’s a beautiful person inside and out.”

At the same event, Bailey’s older sister Chloe gushed about her sister’s casting, telling Entertainment Tonight, “It means the absolute world to me. My sister is so incredibly talented and I can’t wait for the world to see what I see every day, and I’m just so proud of her. It’s going to be really good.”

The two sisters continued to show their support, with Chloe telling People, “Heck yeah! I was more than proud. I was screaming and crying. She worked so hard.”

“My sister is my inspiration, my role model and my everything in every part of life,” Halle said. “I’m so happy to be on this journey with her and that we get to experience life together.”

And for one final dose of girl power, Auli’i Cravalho, who was just announced to play Ariel in Disney’s upcoming Little Mermaid live musical concert, told ET that she was excited to see Bailey at the Variety event and congratulate her. As for the haters online, the Moana actress said, “I think there’s so much room for so many different types of Ariels and so many mermaids. I’m so honored to be able to lend my voice and my interpretation of Ariel and I cannot wait to see Halle’s.”

We can’t wait to see both of our new little mermaids—they’re both going to be incredible, and we are so excited for a new generation of kids to have Disney princesses to look up to. Mermaid goals, indeed.

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