Halle Bailey Responds to Little Mermaid Casting Backlash

Last month, Halle Bailey officially entered the pantheon of live-action Disney princesses, when she was cast in the titular role of the upcoming The Little Mermaid adaptation. While Bailey's casting was initially met with some backlash and trolling online, the actress and Grammy-nominated musician is not letting it phase her. In a recent interview with Variety, Bailey spoke in-depth about her casting and revealed that she isn't paying attention to whatever backlash has popped up online.

"I feel like I'm dreaming, and I'm just grateful." Bailey explained in the interview, which you can check out above. "And 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."

By and large, the response to Bailey's casting has been positive, courting well wishes from a slew of celebrities. Even Halle Berry - who several fans momentarily mistook for Bailey when the casting was first announced - chimed in, which Bailey was honored by.

"Of course! Yeah, I've always loved Halle Berry." Bailey revealed. "She's a beautiful person inside and out."

Jodi Benson, who originally portrayed Ariel, was also among those who wholeheartedly endorsed Bailey's casting.

"I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters." Benson said during a convention appearance earlier this year. "What you bring to the table in a character as far as their heart, and their spirit, is what really counts. And the outside package — cause let's face it, I'm really, really old — and so when I'm singing 'Part of Your World,' if you were to judge me on the way that I look on the outside, it might change the way that you interpret the song. But if you close your eyes, you can still hear the spirit of Ariel."

"We need to be storytellers." Benson continued. "And no matter what we look like on the outside, no matter our race, our nation, the color of our skin, our dialect, whether I'm tall or thin, whether I'm overweight or underweight, or my hair is whatever color, we really need to tell the story. And that's what we want to do, we want to make a connection to the audience. So I know for Disney that they have the heart of storytelling, that's really what they're trying to do. They want to communicate with all of us in the audience so that we can fall in love with the film again.


The Little Mermaid will see Bailey joined by Jacob Tremblay as Flounder and Awkwafina as Skuttle. Harry Styles is in talks to play Prince Eric, and Melissa McCarthy is in talks to play the villainous Ursula.

What do you think of Bailey's response to the Little Mermaid controversy? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!