The Little Mermaid star Halle Bailey shares her antidote to hate from racist trolls

Halle Bailey gets emotional while unveiling The Little Mermaid-inspired Barbie doll

Since Halle Bailey was announced to play Ariel in the new live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, she has been bombarded with hateful, racist messages.

Right-wingers attacked the film for choosing to cast a Black woman as Ariel, who was historically played by white actors.

Online, people tried to call on others to boycott the film for casting Bailey, 22.

“Seeing the world’s reaction to it was definitely a shock,” Bailey told Edition magazine.

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But the musician and actor wasn't going to let the shocking, and racist, responses get to her. Instead, she focused on the positive impact her role has on young children.

“But seeing all the babies’ reactions, all the brown and Black young girls, really tore me up emotionally,” Bailey said.

When the first sneak peek trailer for the new movie was released, parents and families shared their young children’s reactions to the movie where they witnessed Bailey playing an iconic Disney princess.

In one TikTok video, a three-year-old girl excitedly exclaimed, “I think she’s brown. Brown Ariel! Brown Ariel is cute.”

Another showed a young girl yelling, “She’s like me” while smiling at the screen.


Representation matters!!!! #fyp #foryou #thelittlemermaid #Ariel #littlemermaidmovie #representation #disney

While trolls may hate on the movie online, Bailey will likely have a real-life lasting impact on young people all across the country for years to come.

Just as the original The Little Mermaid had a lasting impact on her when she watched it for the first time at five years old.

Speaking to Edition, Bailey said the movie has been “such a crazy ride” and shared how she feels she’s “learned so much through [Ariel].

“I genuinely feel shocked and honored and grateful to be in this position. A lot of times, I have to pinch myself and be like, is this real life?”

She added, “I auditioned when I was 18, got the role when I was 19, and I turn 23 this year. So I genuinely feel like Ariel’s helped me grow up.”

The Little Mermaid comes out on May 26, 2023, in the US.

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