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The Little Mermaid live action remake: Halle Bailey responds to #NotMyAriel backlash

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Lauren Geall
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Halle Bailey who is playing Ariel in Little Mermaid Live Action Remake

Halle Bailey is not here for the negativity surrounding her newest role as Ariel in Disney’s live action remake of The Little Mermaid.

As if it wasn’t already abundantly clear, Halle Bailey has officially proved herself true princess material. 

Shortly after it was confirmed that the Grown-ish actor would take on the role of Ariel in Disney’s new live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, the backlash began on social media. Among the celebratory messages from fans came racist remarks from the worst of the internet’s trolls, who crawled out from underneath their metaphorical bridges to claim that Bailey’s ethnicity meant that she shouldn’t have been given the role.

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That’s right: ignoring the fact that Bailey is an incredibly talented actor and singer (who is mentored by none other than Beyoncé herself), people became so obsessed with the Disney princess’ skin colour that they started the hashtag #NotMyAriel to express their disdain at the decision.

Their behaviour was, to put it simply, disgusting – but Bailey didn’t let it faze her. Instead, she decided to stay positive and rise above the noise, and now she has issued a brilliant message to her critics.

Halle Bailey on the red carpet at Variety's Power of Young Hollywood awards: she spoke about the negativity she has received as a result of being cast as Ariel and the #NotMyAriel hashtag on Twitter
Halle Bailey: " I don’t pay attention to the negativity; I just feel like this role is something bigger than me, and greater."

Speaking to Variety, Bailey said she is still over the moon with the role – and isn’t letting the haters ruin the experience.

“I feel like I’m dreaming,” she began. “And I’m just grateful. I don’t pay attention to the negativity; I just feel like this role is something bigger than me, and greater. And it’s going to be beautiful. I’m just so excited to be a part of it.”

When the news of her casting first broke, Bailey was quick to express her excitement with a tweet dedicated to the announcement, captioning an illustration of her imagined as Ariel alongside the caption “Dream come true”. 

And she wasn’t the only one completely delighted with the decision. Director Rob Marshall was quick to express his delight at the casting, saying: “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.”

Alongside Bailey, the live-action remake has also confirmed Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina as Ariel’s best-friend Scuttle, and Jacob Tremblay has signed on to play Flounder. 

It has also been reported that Melissa McCarthy is in talks to play Ursula, and the role of Prince Eric could possibly go to Harry Styles, according to rumours.

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Lauren Geall

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