While the criticism is mainly fueled by backward-thinking racists taking issue with with a fictional character being cast by a Black woman, the excitement is felt by many more, especially young people of color who feel represented by such a powerful character in a well-loved and known film.
One such person inspired by Bailey is a Delta pilot who wrote a heartfelt thank-you note to the actor.
Bailey shared the note on Twitter with the caption:
"This amazing pilot on the plane gave me this beautiful note today."
The note reads:
"Miss Bailey, It is an honor to have you on board today."
"Thank you for being an inspiration to little brown girls all over the world like we were a few years ago."
It was signed by Jess O., a "young Latina female Delta pilot."
Delta Airlines replied:
"You're giving so many little girls wings."
"Thank you for letting us be a part of your world."
Many others responded in agreement with the pilot, some even sharing their own experiences influenced by Bailey.
You can see Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid on May 26, 2023 in theaters.