My Heart: OG Ariel Jodi Benson Co-signs Halle’s Little Mermaid Performance
Benson knows Halle belongs part of The Little Mermaid world.
It’s no secret that Jodi Benson, voice of Ariel in the original Little Mermaid, is an icon. The actor raised generations of aspiring princesses with this role, properly earning her the “mother” title. Benson recently passed the underwater torch to Halle Bailey, who stars as the singing siren in the upcoming live-action remake. Benson hasn’t been shy in voicing her support of Bailey becoming a new princess, and her compliments hit a new high at the film’s recent premiere.
On May 8, Benson alongside other celebrities celebrated the live-action premiere in Hollywood. While walking the blue carpet, Entertainment Tonight’s Nischelle Turner asked the actor if she gave Bailey any guidance in nailing her portrayal. “She doesn’t need any advice from me!” Benson said, her following gust of laughter sealing her words. “She’s brilliant.”
Benson then gave the Ungodly Hour singer her flowers, which seemed to echo all the social media praises she’s given Bailey over the years. “I did get to meet [Bailey] a few times and chat with her and just tell her how proud I was of her. I love that she has a purity of heart and a pure spirit, and you can see that vulnerability and childlike bravery and courage coming through. It’s beautiful. I’m so thrilled for her and I’m so proud of her.” BRB, currently sobbing.
Benson also gushed about Bailey to The Hollywood Reporter, mentioning the singer’s natural “joy and authenticity” made her the perfect candidate as Ariel. For a second, her voice quivered and eyes closed as though she was visualizing Bailey in the role. This emotional moment was not only heartwarming, but stamps just how vital Bailey’s presence is in the new film despite the backlash.
When Disney first released a teaser of the movie in 2022, racists online created #NotMyAriel to declare that a Black mermaid shouldn’t be centered in the reboot. However, those raucous reactions were swept over by the whirlwind of amazed children reacting to the trailer. That source of awe could be seen at the premiere, where Cardi B’s daughter Kulture and Bailey shared a hug after the film’s showing.
As for Benson, her love for Bailey didn’t stop in these brief interviews. Disney’s official TikTok also showed the two Ariel’s reunited for a hug on the carpet, and it’s such a sweet moment.
The Little Mermaid is in theaters on May 23.