Halle Bailey's trademark locs are on full display in "The Little Mermaid," just the way she wanted them to be.
"There’s so much Black diversity on-screen now," she told Ebony in a story published May 26, the premiere date of the film.
"There was a time when we’d barely see locs—and now we have a Disney princess with them, which has never happened before," she said.
The Chloe x Halle singer's character is famously enamored with the surface world even though she's a mermaid at the bottom of the ocean with a father pressed to keep her there. The ocean, however, ends up being the perfect place to save her future husband, Prince Eric, from drowning. The pair only end up married because Ariel trades her siren voice for legs in a deal with Ursula the sea witch. The film shows the couple's love story and the delicacy of a daddy-daughter relationship.
The 23-year-old intended to retain her locs for the role, and she said it became possible when the director, Rob Marshall, also wanted to keep them.
"It was super important for me to have my natural hair in this film," she said. "I was really grateful to Rob Marshall, because he wanted to keep my locs. It’s always important to have somebody to cosign."
She said that some of her identity comes from having locs since she was a child.
"I’ve had my locs since I was 5, so they’re a huge part of who I am," she explained.
"We need to be able to see ourselves. We need to be able to see our hair on big screens like this, so that we know that it’s beautiful and more than acceptable." she championed.
In the film, Ariel's hair appears red-brown in some scenes, strawberry blonde in others and also a warm red at times. Ariel's hair has been the center of debate, with some complaining that it isn't red enough and others saying it's just right.
“The most unrealistic thing about the new Little Mermaid is Ariel’s hair not being bright red,” one person tweeted.
“The OG Little Mermaid came out years ago and Ariel had red hair. Can’t change that. Won’t change that,” one other tweeted.
Others disagreed with these objections, saying the hair color of Bailey's Ariel is more natural, and naysayers should focus on something else.
“the shade of red that they decided to make her hair is gorgeous and a little more realistic in my opinion,” one Twitter user wrote. “i think if anyone (even if not halle) had played ariel and had the bright red cartoon accurate hair it would’ve been so unserious and tacky.”
“People still complaining about Ariel’s hair. Like get over it,” another person wrote.