Ahead of the upcoming release of The Little Mermaid, actress and R&B/pop singer Halle Bailey is getting candid on the racist backlash she received for her casting in an interview with The Face.
In the interview, while Bailey revealed she was not surprised at the racist responses to her casting, she did emphasize the importance of representation.
“As a Black person, you just expect it and it’s not really a shock anymore,” Bailey said during the interview. “I know people are like, ‘It’s not about race.’ But now that I’m her … people don’t understand that when you’re Black there’s this whole other community. It’s so important for us to see ourselves.”
Bailey also disclosed that she looked to the counsel of Queen Bey herself to navigate her journey as a member of the Disney universe.
“When [Chloe and I] first signed to Parkwood, B was always like, ‘I never read my comments. Don’t ever read the comments.’ Honestly, when the teaser came out, I was at the D23 Expo and I was so happy. I didn’t see any of the negativity.”
A few years ago, Bailey was announced to play the role of Princess Ariel in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, set to be directed by Rob Marshall. Bailey will lead a cast that includes Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay and Melissa McCarthy.
“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,” said Marshall in a previous statement.
The Little Mermaid will arrive in theaters on May 26, 2023.