Halle Bailey recently secured the role of a lifetime as Ariel in Disney's live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, and shortly after her casting was announced, the racist trolls began to seethe. While petitions, bigoted tweets and hashtags began trending (some suspect a lot of outrage was fueled by bots), rallying against the young Black actress and singer to play the fictional mermaid, Bailey remained silent.
Now, she's speaking out about the backlash for the first time, and is choosing to focus on the love rather than the hate.
The 19-year-old Grown-ish star attended Variety's 2019 Power of Young Hollywood event this week and shared her thoughts on the unwarranted criticism she's received, and one thing was made certain: she's completely unbothered.
"I feel like I'm dreaming," she said. "And I'm just grateful. I don't pay attention to the negativity; I just feel like this role is something bigger than me. And it's going to be beautiful. I'm just so excited to be a part of it."
While the backlash seemed to get the most online traction, don't get it twisted — Halle's received tons of support, with her Grown-ish parent network Freeform being one of the many to come to her defense.
We can't wait to see you kill it, Halle!
(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)