The star of Disney’s big-budget live action remake of The Little Mermaid, due in theaters on May 26, says seeing a black mermaid on screen when she was younger would have “changed my whole life.”
Halle Bailey told the UK’s Guardian:
“If I would have had a black mermaid, that would have been insane, that would have changed my whole perspective, my whole life, my confidence, my self-worth. You’re able to see a person who looks like you, when you’re young? Some people are just like, oh, it’s whatever, because they’ve had it their whole life. It’s nothing to them. But it’s so important.”
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When it was announced, back in 2019, that Bailey had won the role, #NotMyAriel started trending on social media and has continued to be a response to new posters and trailers for the film, which also stars Jonah Hauer-King, Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay, Noma Dumezweni, Javier Bardem and Melissa McCarthy.
Bailey told The Guardian of her feelings about this: “I mean, yeah. The world we live in today, just being a black woman, you have a certain awareness that comes with life, in general. So I wasn’t very surprised or shocked.”
Bailey, who was already a successful pop star with her sister Chloe, was asked by Mermaid director Rob Marshall to audition after he saw her perform at the Grammys.
Her previous acting roles include playing a younger Beyonce in the 2003 film The Fighting Temptations, and co-starring with her sister on the sitcom Grown-ish, where the pair plays siblings at university.
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