Jodi Benson Speaks Out On Halle Bailey's Casting In Live-Action Remake Of THE LITTLE MERMAID
BroadwayWorld previously reported Halle Bailey will take on the role of Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid set to go into production next year.
Following the reporting of the casting, a racist hashtag and a now deleted petition circulated on social media, noting that the character of Ariel was originally white and red haired and protesting the casting.
Now Disney's original Ariel, Jodi Benson was weighed in on the situation. In a video widely circulating on Instagram the actress says "...the most important thing is to tell the story. We have, as a family, raised our children and for ourselves that we don't see anything that's different on the outside. 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."
"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 really need to tell the story. The outside package, because let's face it, I'm really, really old, and when I'm singing 'Part of Your World,' if you were to judge me by the way I look on the outside, it might change the way you interpret the song. But if you close your eyes you can still hear the spirit of Ariel."
Along with her sister, Halle Bailey is one half of the R&B duo Chloe X Halle. Bailey's only other acting credit of note is as a supporting player on Freeform's BLACK-ISH spinoff, GROWN-ISH. Freeform, formerly known as ABC Family, is a part of the Disney media empire.