Halle Bailey Was ‘Sobbing Uncontrollably’ When She First Saw Young Black Girls Reacting To Her In ‘The Little Mermaid’

We’re only days away from The Little Mermaid hitting theaters. It’s been a wild ride for Halle Bailey, whose audition for the titular role was so powerful it made everyone in the room cry.

Representation has been a big part of the conversation surrounding the film. Last year, Bailey revealed what her grandparents told her in response to racist backlash to her role. “It was an inspiring and beautiful thing to hear their words of encouragement,” she explained, “telling me, ‘You don’t understand what this is doing for us, for our community, for all the little Black and brown girls who are going to see themselves in you.’”

In a new cover story by Glamour, Bailey talked more about how happy she is to be able to inspire young Black girls by starring in the movie. “When I saw those for the first time, I just cried,” she told the magazine about viral videos of them reacting to her as Ariel. “I was sobbing uncontrollably. The fact that these babies are looking at me and feeling the emotions that they’re feeling is a really humbling, beautiful thing.”

Bailey also touched on what representation she’s experienced in media that inspired her, mentioning Anika Noni Rose in the 2009 animated The Princess and the Frog. “I know how much of that movie changed my whole perspective on life,” she explained. “Wow, this is possible. Black princesses are possible. We deserve to take up these spaces too.”

The Little Mermaid arrives in theaters on May 26.