To some, Halle Bailey may seem like the “new kid on the block”. However, the up-and-coming singer and actress is widely known in the US for her performance as part of the sibling duo Chloe X Halle. The two are currently signed to their mentor Beyonce’s label, Parkwood Entertainment. She is also widely known for her role as Skyler Forster in the American sitcom Grown-ish. What makes this lead role so significant is that this will be Bailey’s first solo project.
The film will be the one of many to join Disneys’s expanding repertoire of childhood classics makeovers which include: The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King; with Mulan and The Little Mermaid to follow over the next two years.
A positive trend emerging amongst these recent Disney remakes is the increased representation of ethnic diversity on screen, especially in terms of casting, which is perhaps an indirect response to the media backlash caused by marginalisation within the film industry more broadly which was called attention to by #OcarsSoWhite, a hashtag that swept across social media in 2015.
Bailey’s African American descent has sparked praise and debate amongst Disney fans who have commented on the lack of fidelity to Disney Princess Ariel’s original physical appearance. Though, many are in favour of Disney’s pro-active stance towards fairer media representation.
It seems Bailey has already won the hearts of millions with her sensational on-screen presence and incredible vocal performance at the 2019 Superbowl. She and her sister are also two-time Grammy nominees, making her the incredibly suited to the leading role. In response to landing this iconic role, the 19-year-old also tweeted that it was a “dream come true”.
Film shooting is set to commence in 2020
Watch Halle Bailey in action in Grown-ish Below: