As the premiere of the live action Disney movie, The Little Mermaid, comes close, we are anticipating with excitement to see how Halle Bailey makes the character Ariel into her own. Yes, we are excited to see other cast members such as Melissa McCarthy as Ursala, Jonah Hauer-King as Eric, and Daveed Diggs as Sebastian. However, to see Bailey playing this role, will be a positively new experience for this generation.
It is accustomed that any remake of a classical movie should be replicated into the live action remake. However, throughout these differences, we get to relive our childhoods once again. We get the chance to sing along to songs such as: Under the Sea, Poor Unfortunate Souls, Kiss the Girl, and everyone’s favorite, Part of Your World.
This film is beyond sharing the story of The Little Mermaid, this is also encouraging the younger generation that you get to pursue your dreams no matter who you are, or where you come from.
We all know that Bailey has natural brown locs. Looking at the trailer, we see that her hair does not come close to Ariel's classic red hair. The red hair is one of the mandatory requirements for this role. However, the issue of red hair was nothing compared to racism and bigotry that Bailey faced after agreeing to play this role.
In 2019, Halle Bailey agreed to play Ariel for the film. As soon as this came out on social media, the backlash started. Social media was flooded with the dissatisfaction with Halle Bailey taking on the part, because she was an African American woman. Previously said, it is accustomed that any remake of any classical movie should be replicated into the live action remake.
Unfortunately, some audiences could not agree with an African American woman playing a fictional Caucasian character. From angry faces to mean comments, and petitions to cast out Halle Bailey as the role of Ariel, so many of us became discouraged with the hope of change. Especially the Twitter trend, #NOTMYARIEL:
Fortunately, the backlash never stopped Bailey from taking on the role of Ariel. She continued to study and embody the character into her own. Bailey spoke out on the L.A. Times about the racist comments:
"The racism didn’t surprise me. It’s a little disappointing, but it’s bound to happen. I didn’t let it affect me and just focused on the positive response I was getting. This moment is so much bigger than any of that. Especially for the Black and brown babies out there, I hope they feel filled with love and confidence in who they are, because it’s essential that they see themselves in roles like these.”
As Bailey takes on this role, young black girls start to gain so much excitement for this film. To see someone that you look up to play a Disney princess is a feeling that is incomparable. As young girls start to purchase Ariel dolls, dressing like her, and preparing to see this film, this is an opportunity to teach young black girls that anything is possible. However, if there was something that made us prepare our hearts for this film was Bailey's recent performance at Disneyland singing Part of Your World.
As she wears her beautiful blue dress, designed by Michael Fausto and the scenery that resembles the sea, she uses her performance as a piece of what we will feel as we watch the film. Not just as a piece of Ariel, but a piece of Halle as well, as she embarks on her own journey as a multi-talented woman in our generation.
The Little Mermaid comes out on May 26th, 2023, in theaters everywhere. We get to see other stars such as Melissa McCarthy, Jonah Hauer-King, and Daveed Diggs in this film. We are excited to see how Halle embodies the little mermaid, and are ready to be part of her world!