Halle Bailey haunted by grandparents’ ‘horrendous’ experiences of racism in America’s Deep South
Halle Bailey is haunted by her grandparents’ “horrendous experiences” of racism.
The singer and actress, 23, was hit with race hate online after her casting as mermaid Ariel in the upcoming live action remake of Disney’s 1989 ‘The Little Mermaid’ animation was announced, but said it is nothing to the bigotry horrors that faced older generations of her family in America’s segregated Deep South.
She told the Sunday Mirror: “When the negative comments started, I was shocked, because it wasn’t something I really anticipated – at least not on that scale.
“Then I started to think, ‘I’m from the Deep South, it’s not like this is the first time I’ve experienced racism.’
Halle – who is soon to star in a remake of ‘The Color Purple’ added: “My Nana used to see her family cotton picking and my grandpa remembers ‘whites only’ water fountains.
“When I think of the horrendous experiences they had, it makes a hashtag and some online hate seem totally inconsequential.”
The hashtag #NotMyAriel trended on Twitter after Halle’s Little Mermaid casting was announced.
She added to the Sunday Mirror seeing how young girls had reacted to her playing the part helped her stay upbeat amid the hatred, adding: “Seeing the reaction of little black and brown girls seeing a different Ariel for the first time was so emotional.
“There was this one TikTok where this adorable little girl said, ‘Mom, she is brown like me.’
“I can’t put into words the encouragement that gave me.”
Halle has also admitted she found it impossible to avoid feeling “hurt” by the backlash, telling The Guardian: “Yeah, we’re all human beings, so if we see anything negative about ourselves, of course it’s going to hurt or sting a little bit, especially remarks like those. I expected it, honestly.
“I mean, yeah. The world we live in today, just being a black woman, you have a certain awareness that comes with life, in general.
“So I wasn’t very surprised or shocked.”