Under the Sea


Photo courtesy of Disney.

Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The story of the mythical creatures called mermaids has been around for thousands of years, starting with a story of the Assyrian goddess, Atagaris. In this story, Atagaris’ lover was killed. Out of agony, Atagaris jumped into a lake, but the gods saved her, giving her a tail and the ability to live underwater. Then, Hans Christian Andersen wrote The Little Mermaid in 1837, inspiring the Disney adaptation.

In 1989, Disney released their version of The Little Mermaid. This story follows a young mermaid named Ariel, voiced by Jodi Benson, who, in a search for love with a human and freedom from her father, finds a wicked sea witch named Ursula. She deals with the witch, giving her voice in exchange for human legs. This leads to an adventure filled with distress turned to happiness.

With the classic, original song “Part of Your World,” this movie racked up 235 million dollars at the box office, and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 93%, making it a very successful and popular movie.

In 2023, the famous movie, along with many other Disney originals, is getting a live-action remake starring Halle Bailey as Ariel. Bailey is an American singer and is in a duo group with her sister, Chloe Bailey. This movie will have new songs, composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, as well as the originals. The trailer for the movie, which was released on September 9, 2022, has already gained a total of 104 million global views, showed a clip of Bailey’s performance of “Part of Your World” and beautifully displayed her vocal talent.

Jodi Benson, the original voice of Ariel, has also seen the trailer, and showed her excitement toward the movie and seeing Bailey as the star in an Instagram story.

“I’m SO proud of you and your beautiful performance as Ariel,” she wrote with a picture of the star next to the film’s director Rob Marshall. 

Despite the overflow of support Bailey has gotten for her role, there has been a lot of backlash. People are criticizing Disney’s choice to cast a Black actress as Ariel. Benson responded to this backlash, showing her support for Bailey.

“We need to be storytellers. And no matter what we look like on the outside, no matter our race, our nation, the color of our skin, our dialect, whether I’m tall or thin, whether I’m overweight or underweight, or my hair is whatever color, we need to tell the story.”

Near the end of filming for the movie, Bailey made an Instagram post describing her experience on the set and how filming this movie made her feel.

“I feel so grateful to have experienced this film in all its glory,” Bailey wrote.

The Little Mermaid live-action remake will be in theaters in May 2023. From Halle Bailey’s beautiful voice to the nostalgia that is certain to come with this film, children and adults alike will be flocking to the theaters to watch it.