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Halle Bailey gets stamp of approval from original Little Mermaid Jodi Benson

Halle Bailey gets stamp of approval from original Little Mermaid Jodi Benson

As audiences prepare for Halle Bailey’s debut as The Little Mermaid, original Little Mermaid actress Jodi Benson praises Bailey for her performance.

The Little Mermaid is one of the most beloved franchises of all time. Originating as a literary fairy tale written by famed Danish author Hans Christian Andersen in 1837, the story gained popularity among contemporary generations with the release of the 1989 animated film, The Little Mermaid.

Disney has continued to allow these franchises to grow by exposing them to younger audiences in new ways, as these classic animated films based on fairy tales have been transformed into live-action adaptations. Such titles as CinderellaBeauty and the Beast, Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King have received live-action adaptations in recent years, and The Little Mermaid is the latest film to be a member of that club.

It can be hard to fill the shoes of someone who brought such an iconic character to life, as Jodi Benson’s portrayal of Ariel, the protagonist of The Little Mermaid, has been met with acclaim. However, it looks like Halle Bailey’s version of Ariel is doing just that as well, as she is also receiving acclaim for her performance as the heroine of the story.

Bailey and Benson had an opportunity to meet with each other during the filming of 2023’s The Little Mermaid, and Bailey shared in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that Benson told her that she was proud of Bailey, especially with how she was, “handling everything” and encouraged her, “to just go for it.”

Bailey continued to cite Benson’s praises by saying, “I appreciate her for being so warm and welcoming to me because she’s the GOAT, and it was important to me to get her stamp of approval.”

Benson’s portrayal of Ariel stood out in 1989 for her rendition of the song, “Part of Your World,” and so Bailey had big shoes to fill as Ariel when it came to her performing the song in the 2023 version.

Bailey’s rendition was also a beautiful standout, and last September on Instagram, Benson called Bailey’s interpretation of the song, “absolutely amazing.”

Needless to say, Bailey was thrilled to hear such praise. She wrote at the time, “Thank you so much, Jodi Benson…This means the world to me coming from you! You made Ariel magical for us.”

At 23 years old, Bailey is part of a generation (and subsequent generations born after 1989) that grew up with The Little Mermaid. While Benson was Bailey’s inspiration, it looks like Bailey’s 2023 version of Ariel will be inspirational for the next generation of audiences and perhaps another Ariel down the road.

As a member of the singing duo Chloe x Halle, she also has received inspiration from, “Beyoncé, who has long been one of Bailey’s mentors after she signed Chloe x Halle to her music label.”

She also credits, “The Princess and the Frog actress Anika Noni Rose and 1997’s live-action Cinderella star Brandy as creating the ‘blueprint’ for her to join The Little Mermaid” as fellow African-American actresses to have a leading role as a Disney princess.

Just as Rose, Brandy, Beyonce, and the original Ariel herself, Jodi Benson, inspired Bailey, the young singer and actress, “spoke to people who might find inspiration in her portrayal of Ariel as well.”

Bailey told People magazine, “I hope that they just know that they are worthy…We deserve to be in these spaces.”

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