In doing her part to set-up the tired media defense that any criticism of the Latest Product TM is based solely on bigotry, Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid remake star Halle Bailey recently claimed that she found the backlash against the film’s announcement to be expectedly racist.
Bailey offered her latest thoughts on the discourse surrounding Disney’s latest cash-grab during an interview given to the fashion and style-centric magazine The Face (who bizarrely, as seen in the image below, treated her interview with all the care and style of a 1990s Geocities site).
Reflecting on the public’s noted and widespread rejection of The Little Mermaid‘s first teaser trailer – a response largely fueled by the terrible quality of the film’s visuals and Disney’s decision to once again play into identity politics by race-swapping one of their classic characters rather than the presence of a black person specifically – Bailey asserted, ““I know people are like: ‘It’s not about race.’ But now that I’m her…”
Following her brief trailing off as she searched for the right words to convey her point, the actress then added, “People don’t understand that when you’re Black there’s this whole other community. It’s so important for us to see ourselves.”
“As a Black person, you just expect it and it’s not really a shock anymore,” she said of the backlash. “When [my sister Chlöe and I] first signed to [her record label] 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.”
Bailey then turned to the previous reports that justified Disney’s race-swapping based on reports that young black girls were supposedly excited to see someone who looked like them on screen, recalling how her family and friends subsequently took to sending her an almost overwhelming amount of videos showing such reactions.
“I was crying all night for two days, just staring at them in disbelief,” she told The Face. “It makes me feel more grateful for where I am.”
Ultimately, Bailey closed out her thoughts on the topic of stepping into the shoes of such a well-established cultural icon as Ariel – as well as those of the protagonist Nettie in the upcoming musical film adaptation of The Color Purple – by explaining, “When you’re doing a remake of anything, everyone’s gonna be like: ‘Well, this isn’t how I liked it in the original.’”
”I hope people like my versions [of the characters in The Color Purple and The Little Mermaid],” she declared. “But at the same time, I’ll respect it if they don’t.”
Audiences will find out if Bailey is truly willing to stick to her supposed guns when The Little Mermaid swims into theaters on May 26th, 2023.
NEXT: Disney’s Live-Action ‘The Little Mermaid’ Star Halle Bailey Responds To Race-Swap Criticisms: “The Reassurance That Little Girls Just Like Me Should Be Princesses Was Something I Needed As A Kid”