Halle Bailey got 'encouragement' from her family after the ‘The Little Mermaid’ racist backlash
Halle Bailey received “words of encouragement” from her grandparents following the racist abuse to her ‘The Little Mermaid’ casting.
The 22-year-old singer called it “inspiring” to be uplifted through the supportive words of her family, who reminded her how integral it was for little girls of all different races to see her take on the iconic role of Ariel in the Disney live-action remake of the 1989 animated classic that kicked off the Disney Renaissance.
Halle told Variety: "It was an inspiring and beautiful thing to hear their words of encouragement, telling me, 'You don't understand what this is doing for us, for our community, for all the little Black and brown girls who are going to see themselves in you.’"
The one half of Chloe x Halle - which she creates and performs music with her sister Chloe Bailey, 24 - gushed about how the part would mean so much to her younger self.
Halle said: “What that would have done for me, how that would have changed my confidence, my belief in myself, everything. Things that seem so small to everyone else, it's so big to us."
Despite her glee at the gig, the ‘Do It’ hitmaker was the target of a vicious campaign of hate when she was named as the actress in the “iconic role” in 2019.
At the time, Rob Marshall, the film’s director said: "After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role."
Many social media users expressed their outrage and launched a petition, titled #NotMyAriel, which sought to get the Walt Disney Company to recast her with a white actress.
In response, Freeform penned an ‘An open letter to the Poor, Unfortunate Souls’ that doubled down on their decision to cast Halle, calling it “INSPIRED”.