The Little Mermaid’s Halle Bailey Reveals Advice From Beyoncé She Used In The Midst Of Racist Ariel Backlash

Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid
(Image credit: Walt Disney Studios)

Over the last few years, Disney has made a habit of producing live-action adaptations of their beloved animated blockbusters. This trend is continuing with Rob Marshall’s highly anticipated take on The Little Mermaid, which is approaching its time in theaters. The upcoming movie musical will star recording artist/actress Halle Bailey as Ariel, who is leading the all-star cast. And Bailey recently revealed the advice from Beyoncé that she used in the midst of racist backlash that she’s faced. Here’s what Queen Bey had to say.

Given her absolutely wild vocal talents, Halle Bailey definitely has what it takes to bring Ariel to life in The Little Mermaid. But she still faced a ton of backlash over her casting, which got louder when the first footage from the movie arrived at D23. Plenty of notable people have come to Bailey’s defense, and she told The Face how some advice from Beyoncé helped her through that time. In her words:

As a Black person, you just expect it and it's not really a shock anymore. 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.

Talk about smart advice. While there was discourse happening online, some of which was racist backlash, Halle Bailey seemingly listened to Beyoncé and kept off the comments section. This is a good rule of thumb in general, but especially when it came to the vitriol points at Bailey for her upcoming debut as a Disney princess. Hopefully the reception is warmer as the movie actually hits theaters in a few months.

Halle Bailey’s comments come as she’s gearing up for the press tour of The Little Mermaid. The original 1989 movie is a beloved part of film history, which entire generations were brought up on. The limited footage makes the movie look like a visual treat, and she’ll no doubt have a unique musical take on the iconic songs. Is it May yet?

The Little Mermaid

Halle Bailey in The Little Mermaid

(Image credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Director: Rob Marshall

Writer: David Magee, Jane Goldman

Cast: Halle Bailey, Melissa McCarthy, Javier Bardem, Daveed Diggs, Jacob Tremblay, Awkwafina, Jonah Hauer-King.

Release Date/Platform: May 26 in theaters.

The strong emotions connected with The Little Mermaid are seemingly why some corners of the internet had such negative reactions to seeing a Black actress portray Ariel. While Halle Bailey said she expected it, this once again shows how toxic fans can be about beloved IPs. We previously saw racist backlash come at both John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran for their roles in the Star Wars franchise

Despite this, there is still a ton of excitement about what’s coming with Rob Marshall's The Little Mermaid. Fans are eager for a full trailer to finally arrive, and debut characters like Melissa McCarthy as Ursula and Javier Bardem as King Triton. Personally, I can’t wait to hear more of Halle Bailey’s vocals in the upcoming movie musical.

The Little Mermaid will arrive in theaters on May 26th. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.