Disney princess Halle Bailey, known for her role as Ariel in the live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, recently made headlines with her candid responses to criticism.
The original animated version of The Little Mermaid from 1989 holds a special place in cinematic history, with its enchanting narrative and memorable songs like “Under the Sea” and “Part of Your World.” Children and parents wanted to be part of Ariel’s World.
As Disney has started to venture into a live-action remakes of this beloved classic films such as The Lion King (2019), Beauty and the Beast (2017), Lady and the Tramp (2019), The Jungle Book (2016) and several more classic Disney movies. In the most recent Disney live-action film The Little Mermaid Disney has decided to cast Halle Bailey as the new Ariel this sparked significant excitement and speculation among fans. The Little Mermaid live-action faced backlash due to Halle Bailey not having red hair or white skin as the classic Disney film, but Disney and fans have stood by Halle Bailey, with mostly positive reviews from the movie. While many celebrated the casting as a step towards diversity and inclusivity, others criticized the deviation from the animated character’s traditional appearance, highlighting the challenges Disney faces in balancing nostalgia with modern sensibilities.
The live-action film made a splash at the global box office, grossing over $569 million. Critics lauded Bailey’s portrayal, recognizing her ability to capture the essence of the animated original while infusing the character with her unique artistry. The star-studded cast, including Javier Bardem, Melissa McCarthy, Awkwafina, and Jonah Haur-King, contributed to the film’s success, earning a 67% approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and an impressive 94% audience score. The Little Mermaid director was John Musker and Ron Clements.
In addition to her film role, Halle Bailey’s portrayal of Ariel has also found its way into the Disney theme parks. Walt Disney World Resort now offers two different Little Mermaid meet-and-greet experiences. The original, located at Ariel’s Grotto in Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom, is based on the animated film. The other, situated at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the Animation Courtyard at Walt Disney Presents, is inspired by the live-action version and reflects Halle Bailey’s portrayal of Ariel. This new look for Ariel has inspired girls that they have a princess who looks like them. This integration into the theme parks further solidifies the lasting impact of Bailey’s performance on the iconic character.
However, fame also brought an unwarranted backlash, prompting Bailey to address a specific critique on her Snapchat Story. She spoke out against comments about her nose, emphasizing her love for it and urging people to leave her alone. Bailey’s response highlighted the challenges that comes with increased visibility and scrutiny in the public eye.
“Listen, if I see one more person say something about my nose one more time, it’s gonna be hell to pay. And you know why? ‘Cause I am black. I love my nose,” she said.“[What are you] concerned about my nose for? Leave me the hell alone!”
While addressing comments about her appearance, Bailey chose not to engage with persistent rumors circulating on social media about her rumored pregnancy. Speculation had been rampant for months, with fans closely analyzing Bailey’s public appearances with boyfriend Darryl Dwayne “DDG” Granberry Jr. for any signs of an impending addition to the family.
Bailey’s fashion choices, particularly at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards and Milan Fashion Week, fueled speculation about a concealed pregnancy. Despite the ongoing rumors, Bailey maintained a deliberate silence, keeping her personal life shielded from public scrutiny.
While backlash for Disney is nothing new, the latest live-action films have gotten fans in an uproar over the live-action Snow White featuring Rachel Zegler stating she would remove the prince due to Snow White no longer needing to be rescued and The Little Mermaid live-action due to Halle Bailey not being some fans first pick as Ariel.