When the first The Little Mermaid teaser trailer was released, star Halle Bailey faced racist backlash over her version of Ariel being Black. During an interview with The Face, the actress spoke out about the backlash.
“I know people are like: ‘It’s not about race.’ But now that I’m her … people don’t understand that when you’re Black there’s this whole other community,” Bailey stated. “It’s so important for us to see ourselves.”
The star also explained that while it’s not shocking to see such a reaction, she doesn’t read the comments on posts so she doesn’t see much of the negativity.
“As a Black person, you just expect it and it’s not really a shock anymore,” Bailey said. “When [Chlöe and I] first signed to Parkwood, [Beyoncé] was always like: ‘I never read my comments. Don’t ever read the comments.’ Honestly, when the teaser came out, I was at the D23 Expo and I was so happy. I didn’t see any of the negativity.”
For this new version of The Little Mermaid, Disney paired Lin-Manuel Miranda with Alan Menken — who also wrote the songs in the 1989 animated film alongside Howard Ashman — to create a blend of old and new songs that will be featured in the upcoming big-screen version.
Disney’s animated The Little Mermaid made over $211 million at the box office and became a bestseller on home video, popularizing songs like “Under The Sea” and “Part of Your World.” The upcoming film is based on the short story by Hans Christian Andersen and the 1989 Disney animated film by Ron Clements and John Musker.