Thursday, May 04, 2023
Halle Bailey is squashing many stereotypes as she stars in the upcoming Disney’s live-action of The Little Mermaid.
The 23-year-old singer and actress was featured in the cover story for Ebony’s May issue in which she got candid about being her authentic self in portraying the iconic role for Ariel, via People Magazine.
“There was a time when we’d barely see locks—and now we have a Disney princess with them, which has never happened before,” she told the magazine.
“It was super important for me to have my natural hair in this film. I was really grateful to [director] Rob Marshall, because he wanted to keep my locs. It’s always important to have somebody to cosign.”
Bailey added that she has had her “locks since I was five, so they’re a huge part of who I am.”
“We need to be able to see ourselves, we need to be able to see our hair on big screens like this, so that we know that it’s beautiful and more than acceptable,” she elucidated.
When asked if a Black Ariel was something she wished to see on screen, she agreed. “What I love about today [is that its normalised],” she said. “Somebody told me the other day, ‘[This generation of kids are] not even going to know the first version [of The Little Mermaid]. Their version of Ariel is you.’”
The Ungodly Hour singer shared that the 1997’s Cinderella, which starred a Black actress, Brandy Norwood. “I remember [Brandy’s Cinderella] was one of the first [films] I saw with a Black princess,” she recalled.
“It was so monumental. It changes your whole perspective as a young Black woman, how you feel about yourself, what you think you can do, and the possibilities the world has to offer. She’s the blueprint for all of the Black princesses to come.”
The Little Mermaid is slated for release on May 26th, 2023.