Last summer, Disney revealed that they had finally found their Ariel for the upcoming live action reboot of their classic animated film, The Little Mermaid. The Disney princess will be played by actress Halle Bailey, who is one half of the popular R&B singing duo Chloe x Halle. While many were supportive of the casting, a subset of racist fans found issue with a Black woman playing the fictional mermaid to the point that a petition, titled #NotMyAriel, went around on social media to have the role recast.
Despite the virulent hate directed towards her, Halle was nothing but graceful when addressing the hate, telling Variety in 2019, “I am so used to [us] always going through these challenging moments in our career together, [but] I am beginning to understand that this film is so much bigger than me.”
Amid the release of her new album, B7, Brandy was interviewed by Billboard where she asked about her thoughts on Halle’s casting as the mermaid princess, considering she’s been in the same shoes before. In the late 1990s, Brandy made history after she was cast to portray Cinderella in ABC’s television adaption of the Disney classic. This made her the first Black actress to portray the fictional princess on screen. Additionally, at the time of its release, the film was lauded for its diverse cast of actors.
Brandy had nothing but words of support and encouragement for Halle as one of the few Black women to assume the Disney princess mantle. Her biggest piece of advice was Halle to not get caught up in the negativity and let it dissuade her from her true purpose.
“She needs to keep positive people around her and to also stay positive and to not live her life for anyone but herself,” Brany affirmed. “And I mean that in a way where sometimes in this industry, we can get caught up in what everybody thinks that we should do.”
“I believe that her staying true to herself is the reason why she's in a great position to do all of the things that she's meant to do,” she continued. In her eyes, Halle is “a positive role model already” to so many other young Black women.
“I just wish her all the best,” Brandy added. “I absolutely love Halle and I love Chloe. I see so much of myself in Halle.”
Read the rest of Brandy’s Billboard interview here to see what else she had to record with her daughter for the first time and how B7 pays homage to the late Whitney Houston.
(Photos from left: Kevin Winter/Getty Images and by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)