Support for Halle Bailey’s Casting as Ariel in ‘The Little Mermaid’ Outshines Racist Backlash

Racist memes are continuing to spread on social media, including being shared in a Facebook group called “Christians Against The Little Mermaid,” in a reaction to Halle Bailey’s landing the lead role in Disney’s (No. 20 on The DiversityInc Top 50 list) “The Little Mermaid” live-action film.

Halle Bailey is half of the music duo “Chloe x Halle” with her sister, and they are cast members of the TV show “Grown-ish” starring Yara Shahidi. Director Rob Marshall said that he chose Bailey for the film after an “extensive search” because she had that “rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance,” and an awesome singing voice.

But the only thing racists reacted to when the announcement was made on Tuesday that Bailey was cast as Ariel is the color of her skin. A Facebook group “Christians Against The Little Mermaid (Boycott Halle Bailey)” emerged.

The “Christians” seemingly allow group members to express their racism toward Bailey.

#NotMyAriel trended on Twitter.

But Twitter users in support of Bailey used the hashtag to defend her:

Former NBA player, a father, and author Etan Thomas said he can’t wait to take his daughters to see the film.

Diana Huey, the theater actress who was the first non-white performer to play Ariel on a major stage, posted on Instagram in support of Halle Bailey:

“When I had the honor of flipping my fins as Ariel for a year in the national tour of Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid,’ I, as an actor of color, was met with a lot of adversity and upset from people. But more importantly, I was showered with an overwhelming outpouring of love, support, and messages of hope and inspiration from people across the globe,” she wrote.

“I had Broadway’s OG Ariel, @officialsierraboggess, stand by me, and now, I pass the torch and stand by Halle Bailey. Isn’t Ariel’s entire message about finding where she belongs, where she is her truest self, and where she feels full and accepted?

“Halle is going to make a beautiful Ariel, a powerful Ariel, and an inspiring Ariel and I am so excited to watch her change the world with her performance.”

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