Halle Bailey says seeing a Black version of Ariel would have ‘changed my whole outlook on life’

Halle Bailey knows the worth of her role in the upcoming “The Little Mermaid” adaptation.

During a Q&A session posted to her Youtube account, the singer touched on the impact of her upcoming role as Ariel in Disney’s live-action remake of the 1989 animated classic.

When asked about the most significant lesson she learned while on set, Bailey expressed that self-belief played a big factor.

Bailey also described the strenuous process involved in stepping into the shoes — well, fin — of a beloved character who eventually learns how to walk and use her voice. According to Bailey, she trained for three months to build up her strength so she could act and sing while suspended in mid-air and while submerged under water.

“I dedicated so much time, blood, sweat, and tears went into this work for this film,” she explained. “In the process, I learned so much about myself.”

Still, in the weeks following the release of “The Little Mermaid” trailer, Bailey and the creators of the film received a wave of backlash in regards to her race on social media.

The titular character in the original animated film was a white mermaid with red hair. Bailey is Black, a factor that proved exciting and invigorating for the young audience of Disney animated films.

Recently, videos of parents filming their young Black daughters reacting to Bailey’s appearance as Ariel went viral.

“Today, with all of the kind of commentary and people’s opinions going on, it just reminds me to be number one grounded and grateful that I have this opportunity and the fact that it’s sparking such a discussion like this for all of us,” she said. “I know what it would have meant to me as a little girl to have been able to see a black Ariel when I was younger. If I would have seen that, it would have changed my whole outlook on life.”

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