Halle Bailey, Disney's Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, recently spoke about the backlash that some people have voiced about her casting. Disney only recently announced Bailey as its Ariel, but since then, there has been a lot of controversy over the news.
Unfortunately, much of that criticism stems from outright racism, with many fans of the original film complaining that Bailey isn't a white girl with red hair. Although her hair could easily be dyed for the film (as seen in fan art imagining Bailey as the Little Mermaid), many comments were cruel and unwarranted. These complaints prompted the Internet trolls to jump on the bandwagon, further fueling the fire. It didn't even matter that Bailey has already proven she's the right choice for the role, mostly because of her beautiful singing voice. There are still many fans who continue to remain upset over the casting of a fictional sea creature.
Bailey recently spoke to Variety about the backlash, and in true Ariel fashion, she blew it off, maintaining that she's going to enjoy getting to play the character. She said:
"I feel like I'm dreaming, and I'm just grateful and I don't pay attention to the negativity. I just feel like this role something bigger than me and greater and it's going to be beautiful. I'm just so excited to be a part of it."
Bailey also spoke briefly about getting noticed by actress Halle Berry. When Disney initially announced Bailey's casting, some fans were confused and thought Berry was taking on the role of Ariel. Berry eventually reached out via Twitter to wish Bailey all the best, though.
It's good that Bailey isn't letting the criticism get to her. Other actresses often suffer the same treatment. Some have even left social media because of all the hatred spewed their way. Bailey also got some excellent advice from Diane Huey, the first non-white actress to portray Ariel in the stage musical of The Little Mermaid. Huey also received backlash, but told Bailey to remember there would be more fans supporting her than not. However, all seems quiet with news about Disney potentially casting Javier Bardem as Triton, Ariel's father, and Harry Styles as Eric, Ariel's love interest.
In this day and age, anything that seems different will always stoke hatred on the Internet. The backlash of Bailey's casting is unfortunately typical, which is a shame. Many so-called fans fall into outrage before they ever see the finished product, but that outrage can often ruin that piece of entertainment for others. Bailey needs to continue to think positively and give the best performance of Ariel that she can. An excellent performance in The Little Mermaid won't necessarily shut up all the naysayers, but it will undoubtedly make them rethink their original opinions.