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Halle Bailey says she was in “disbelief” over positive response to playing ‘The Little Mermaid”s Ariel

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Halle Bailey is reflecting on the past year and a half since filming wrapped on the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

In an interview with The Face, the 22-year-old actress and singer, who makes up one-half of the sister duo Chloe x Halle, and who stars as Ariel in the remake of the 1989 Disney animated film, talked about the support she’s received since taking on the movie’s lead role.

“I was crying all night for two days, just staring at them in disbelief,” she said, referring to the videos of young Black girls reacting to the first teaser trailer showing Bailey as Ariel for the first time. “It just makes me feel more grateful for where I am.”

While the responses to the trailer — which dropped in 2022 at the D23 Expo — were overwhelmingly positive, it also became the target of backlash, similar to the criticism that came in 2019, when casting for the film was first announced.

Online, the hashtag #NotMyAriel was used in both instances to respond to the news.

Bailey, who recognizes the weight behind her turn as Ariel, shared how she’s handled the negativity.

“As a Black person, you just expect it and it’s not really a shock anymore,” she said. “When [my sister and I] first signed to Parkwood [Entertainment, Beyoncé‘s record label,] she was always like, ‘I never read my comments. Don’t ever read the comments.’ Honestly, when the tease came out, I was at the D23 Expo and I was so happy. I didn’t see any of the negativity.”

“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 added. “It’s so important for us to see ourselves.”

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