Halle Bailey made headlines when she stepped into the role of Ariel in Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, becoming the first Black actress to portray the iconic character. While her performance was lauded, it came with significant challenges, including the toll it took on her vocal cords.
The Physical Toll on Halle Bailey
In her pursuit of delivering a flawless performance as Ariel, Halle Bailey went to great lengths, both physically and vocally. During the filming of The Little Mermaid, Bailey faced the challenges of underwater scenes and chlorine exposure. The buoyancy of water provided some relief, but the chlorine took a toll on her sinuses and vocal cords.
Bailey, a trained singer, emphasized the importance of vocal care. However, the combination of stunt work and underwater scenes added complexity to her performance. Despite the challenges, Bailey pushed through and delivered a remarkable portrayal of the beloved character.
The Controversy Surrounding Ariel’s Casting
While Halle Bailey’s dedication to her role in The Little Mermaid was evident, it did not shield her from criticism and controversy. The decision to cast a Black actress as Ariel sparked backlash and ignited debates about racial accuracy in character portrayals.
Critics argued that Bailey’s casting as Ariel was racially inaccurate, suggesting that she should have been given roles that align with her ethnicity. Some fans expressed disappointment that Bailey did not resemble the traditionally light-skinned character from the animated film.
The controversy surrounding Ariel’s casting exposed deeper issues of representation and diversity in Hollywood. While Disney aimed to promote inclusivity and diversity with its choice, it faced criticism from those who believed the studio should have offered Bailey roles that better aligned with her background.
Despite the criticism, Halle Bailey remained committed to her mission of breaking boundaries and inspiring change in the world of entertainment. The debate surrounding her portrayal of Ariel in The Little Mermaid serves as a reflection of the ongoing discussions about racial accuracy and representation in the industry.