Little Mermaid star Halle Bailey shares advice mentor Beyoncé gave her after racist backlash

Side by side images of Halle Bailey and Beyonce on the red carpet.

Halle Bailey has opened up about the racist backlash she received after The Little Mermaid trailer dropped last year, explaining how Beyoncé’s advice helped her through.

When it was announced in 2019 that Bailey would be taking on the role of Ariel in a live-action remake of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, the vile hashtag #NotMyAriel began trending.

When the film’s first trailer dropped last September, the miserable corners of the Internet erupted with racist abuse.

Bailey has since explained that her mentor and friend Beyoncé – who signed Halle and her sister Chlöe (AKA Chlöe x Halle) to her Parkwood Entertainment label in 2015 – gave her advice for life.

Speaking to The Face, Bailey said: “When [Chlöe and I] first signed to 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 [Disney fan event] D23 Expo and I was so happy. I didn’t see any of the negativity.”

Expanding further on how she felt following the vitriolic response to the trailer, Bailey said she sadly “expected it”.

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“As a Black person, you just expect it and it’s not really a shock anymore,” she said.

“People don’t understand that when you’re Black, there’s this whole other community. It’s so important for us to see ourselves.”

Seeing the reaction from thousands of young Black girls as they witnessed an Ariel who looked like them on screen for the first time, was overwhelming, says Bailey.

​”I was crying all night for two days, just staring at them in disbelief.” She added that her family kept sending her the heart-warming reaction videos.

​”It makes me feel more grateful for where I am.”

The Little Mermaid, which also features Melissa McCarthy as Ursula and Bridgerton star Simone Ashley as Indira, another mermaid, will hit cinemas in the UK on 26 May.

When it’s released, Bailey will get back to focusing on new music – some of which she has already played for Beyoncé.

“She hadn’t heard anything with me on my own before, so it was a really big moment for me,” Bailey said.

“She was just so proud. So complimentary. It’s a beautiful thing when a creative you look up to tells you that you’re doing a good job. It means the world.”

Here’s hoping there’s a Halle Bailey x Beyoncé collaboration in the works.