Halle Bailey believed it was important to keep her natural hair while playing redhead Ariel in The Little Mermaid
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Associated Press / Alamy Stock Photo / Disney
Disney fans are flocking to cinemas today (May 26) to catch the long-awaited live-action remake of The Little Mermaid starring Halle Bailey.
When it was first announced that Bailey, a Black singer and actress, would be portraying Ariel in the film, there was some intense backlash from racist trolls, who lashed out at the film studio and review-bombed the trailers.
But Halle took it all in her stride with grace, speaking about how proud she is to represent young Black girls.
Now, the reviews are doing the talking and Halle has, as expected, come out on top, with pretty much every fan and critic agreeing that she's a total star and a perfect Little Mermaid.
Of course, there are some key elements that make Ariel, Ariel. You couldn't have the beloved Disney princess without her angelic singing voice (check), her bright green tail (check), and her best friends Flounder, Sebastian, and Scuttle (check, check, check).
But perhaps most important of all is Ariel's iconic red hair.
Halle was more than happy to become a redhead for the Disney film, but the actress felt it was important to do it on her terms, with her natural locs.
Speaking to Ebony magazine, she explained: "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 co-sign.
"I've had my locs 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."
In a separate interview with Glamour, Halle added that it was a team decision to let Ariel have locs in this film.
"[Ariel still] has red hair, because that's a very iconic part of her, but I really did admire the fact that because I'm a black woman and I have locs, [the producers] wanted to incorporate that into Ariel's look," she shared.
The actress went on to say that she had been inspired by Ariel since she was a child and it was an honor to be able to pass that on to countless other little girls as she takes on the role.
“I remember Ariel being the reason I wanted to swim," she admitted.
"When I saw her, [I was] like, ‘She’s so beautiful; I wanted to be a mermaid too’.
"She didn’t look like me, but I was OK with that because it was what I was used to at the time."
Now, Halle has met with and seen videos of the countless young Black girls who are overjoyed that Ariel looks like them.
"The fact that these babies are looking at me and feeling the emotions that they’re feeling is a really humbling, beautiful thing," she said.
The Little Mermaid is in theatres from today.