Halle Bailey was the subject of plenty of racist scrutiny last summer after the news broke that she'd been cast as Ariel in the upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, but the talented artist did not let any of the hate get to her. Halle appeared alongside her older sister, Chloe, who together make up the group Chloe x Halle, on the cover of Teen Vogue this week. In their cover story, Halle was asked about the negative criticism she received by folks who took issue with a Black woman playing the fictional mermaid.

halle bailey the little mermaid chloe + halle racism responseEmma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

“We've always learned to just keep our heads up no matter the situation," she said. "No matter what anybody has to say about you...just keep pushing.”

Halle officially landed the exciting role last July after director Rob Marshall conducted "an extensive search" to find the perfect Ariel. "It was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role," he said at the time. While many were thrilled for Halle, others decided to turn a happy situation sour, and project their own racist views onto her casting. Some even had the nerve to start a petition titled #NotMyAriel in an attempt to have Disney recast the character with a white actress that they felt would more closely resemble the animated fish-human hybrid. In response, Disney’s cable network, Freeform, wrote "An open letter to the Poor, Unfortunate Souls" who were vehemently against their casting choice.


All the while, Halle stayed positive. “I feel like I’m dreaming, and I’m just grateful," she told Variety at the time of her casting. "I don’t pay attention to the negativity. I just feel like this role is something bigger than me. It’s going to be beautiful.”