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Regardless of ‘Little Mermaid’ Trolls, Halle Bailey Stays Glowing

If Halle Bailey has million fans, then I'm one of them. If Halle Bailey has one fan, then I'm THAT ONE.

Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney's live-action 'The Little Mermaid'

It seems like fans and trolls alike just can’t get Halle Bailey off their brains.

After helping to write and perform the wildly successful album Godly Hour with her sister, Chloe, and co-starring on the hit show Grown-ish, Bailey saw her star rising to bigger heights when she was cast as the iconic role of Princess Ariel in a live-action reboot of the beloved children’s film The Little Mermaid. Since being cast, Bailey has appeared in many Disney parks and even had a solo performance at Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration. There’s no way anyone can deny that Bailey is a true superstar.

However, like most superstars, especially if they’re young, black, and a woman, Bailey has been met with significant hate. After she was announced as Ariel, many online trolls quickly took to Twitter to bash the choice as “reverse racism,” ridiculously claiming Bailey’s casting “took the role away from redheads.” They called her a “diversity hire” and contributed the casting to Disney having a “woke” agenda.

When the first teaser trailer dropped, the hate only seemed to get worse. People tried to dispute that Bailey couldn’t be a mermaid due to her being Black because “mermaids live at the bottom of the ocean and therefore get no sunlight.” They criticized her red locs (I guess they had to give the redhead argument a new look) and said she couldn’t sing as well as Jodi Benson, who played the original Ariel, which is hilarious because Benson has been open about her praise for Bailey’s performance. But, the most egregious thing thrown at Bailey (for now, unfortunately) was deep fakes people made that depicted her as a white woman with wavy red hair. Bailey’s haters seemed like they would stop at nothing to tear her down and take away the tremendous accomplishment of being cast in a Disney film.

Thankfully, Bailey doesn’t seem too phased by the hate. During an interview with Variety, Bailey explained that she received a lot of support from her grandparents during the height of the backlash as they constantly reminded her how much of an impact seeing a Black princess on the big screen would have. In her words:

“It was an inspiring and beautiful thing to hear their words of encouragement, telling me, ‘You don’t understand what this is doing for us, for our community, for all the little Black and brown girls who are going to see themselves in you.”

And we are already seeing that impact, even before the movie’s premiere. So many Black parents shared videos of their daughters getting excited seeing Bailey as Ariel when the trailer first dropped. And, during a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida at the end of March, Bailey shared a video on her Instagram story in which she can be seen hugging a little girl tightly as the girl seemed to have recognized her as Ariel. Bailey has already made such an impact on little Black girls around the world and no amount of online trolling can take that away from her.

Listen, you can hate on Halle Bailey all you want. I mean, I’d suggest getting a hobby, but you do you. You’re not going to dull the shine of her star or lessen the impact she has on her community. Bailey may be playing a Disney princess, but don’t think for one second she’s a timid girl waiting on a prince to set her free. There are hours of Instagram Live videos that can attest to the fact that Bailey is a confident, badass young woman who’s ready to make the world her own.

We stan Halle Bailey in this house now and forever!

(featured image: Disney)

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Kayla Harrington (she/her) is a freelance writer who has been working in digital media since 2017, starting at Mashable before moving to BuzzFeed and now here at The Mary Sue. She specializes in Marvel (Wanda Maximoff did nothing wrong!), pop culture, and politics. When she's not writing or lurking on TikTok, you can find Kayla reading the many unread books on her shelves or forcing her friends to watch some random video she found. She's also a world class chef (according to her wife) and loves to try any recipe she can find.