This Is What The Original Ariel Voice Actor Had To Say About Halle Bailey's Performance In The Little Mermaid Remake

Once upon a time, the Disney corporation was not the most powerful entertainment entity on the planet and arbiter of all mainstream media, and was, in fact, at the risk of shuttering its doors for good. All of that changed with the Disney Renaissance, the period between 1989 and 1999 that was jam-packed with animated smash-hits for the House of Mouse, and established the roots of what would become their current empire.

The period kicked off with an animated musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's 1837 fairy tale, "The Little Mermaid." Featuring a beloved performance by living Disney legend Jodi Benson, "The Little Mermaid" was a massive financial success for the company and brought home two Academy Awards for Best Original Song ("Under the Sea") and Best Original Score.

Now, over three decades later, "The Little Mermaid" is getting a live-action adaptation starring Halle Bailey as the mermaid Ariel. There's been a lot of embarrassingly racist complaints from grown adults who can't get over the fact that a cartoon cryptid is being played by a Black woman, and many of them have tried to hide their racism by invoking the name of Jodi Benson, believing she's irreplaceable. 

Well, today is yet another bad day to be a racist, because after seeing a sneak peek of the upcoming film's footage at this year's D23, Benson had only explosively positive things to say about Bailey's performance.

'You were absolutely amazing!'

Benson took to her Instagram stories to sing Bailey's praises, more than giving the seal of approval (which Bailey does not need, let's get that straight real quick) to her successor. "Halle, you were absolutely amazing!" Benson wrote. "I'm so proud of you and your beautiful performance as Ariel." Benson also shared a photo of Bailey alongside director Rob Marshall, declaring him "brilliant" and expressing her gratitude for being able to call him a friend for over 35 years. She ended the post by saying, "Thank you for creating such a stunning film!" 

This isn't the first time Benson has defended Bailey's casting. She spoke out against the racist backlash at the Florida Supercon convention, saying, "I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters. What you bring to the table in a character as far as their heart and their spirit is what really counts."

Bailey re-shared Benson's post on her Instagram story, writing that her kindness "means the world to me coming from you." She also acknowledged the character's original legacy by adding, "You made Ariel magical for us."

"The Little Mermaid" will borrow heavily from the animated source material but contain updated elements, similar to the live-action adaptations of "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin." In addition to the iconic music of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, Lin-Manuel Miranda will be contributing new music to the film as well. The movie also features Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, and Awkwafina as Scuttle.

"The Little Mermaid" is expected to debut in theaters on May 26, 2023.