Disney's choice to cast singer and Grown-ish actress Halle Bailey as Ariel in their upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid is bringing some much-needed diversity to the classic tale, but it has also brought with it some backlash. Certain fans of the original movie began using the hashtag #NotMyAriel to express their disappointment that the live-action Ariel won't look exactly like her animated counterpart, a racist reaction disguised as a demand for fidelity. Freeform, the home of Bailey's show Grown-ish, set the them straight with their own defense of the star, but it wasn't until Tuesday's Power Of Young Hollywood gala hosted by Variety that Bailey weighed in on the hate.
Turns out, despite the trolls' loud attempts to put her down, Bailey isn't listening.
"I feel like I'm dreaming and I'm just grateful and I don't pay attention to the negativity," she told the outlet. "I just feel like this role was something bigger than me and greater and it's going to be beautiful. I'm just so excited to be a part of it."
Considering Disney films shaped the childhoods of many of the adults in the world today, it's significant — and disappointing — that most of the classics feature white protagonists. In fact, Disney didn't introduce its first Black princess until 2009's The Princess and the Frog. Bailey now has the opportunity to give Black women the visibility they didn't get with the 1989 animated feature, as well as the young Black girls who will be seeing the story for the first time through her portrayal — which, by the way, will be phenomenal. She's already proved herself as a singer alongside her sister in the band Chloe x Halle, and Grown-ish is clearly just the beginning of her acting abilities.
With all that promise, who would have time to listen to Twitter hate?