Actress Halle Bailey is speaking out after public backlash over her playing he part of Ariel in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

Tuesday, during the the Power of Young Hollywood event, the Chloe x Halle star told Variety that she’s actively choosing to block out her naysayers and instead focus on all the love and support that’s been sent her way.

READ MORE: Black Ariel casting choice for new ‘Little Mermaid’ inspires fan art depicting Halle Bailey in role

“I feel like I’m dreaming and I’m just grateful and I don’t pay attention to the negativity,” she explained optimistically. “I just feel like this role was something bigger than me and greater and it’s going to be beautiful. I’m just so excited to be a part of it.”

Shortly after the unexpected casting choice made headlines, Jodi Benson, the actress who originally voiced Ariel’s character, spoke up in support of Bailey while attending the Florida Supercon convention.

READ MORE: Halle Bailey will play Ariel in Disney’s live-action remake of ‘The Little Mermaid’

“The most important thing is to tell the story. And we have, as a family, we have raised our children, and for ourselves, that we don’t see anything that’s different on the outside,” she said graciously, differing from racially charged opinions that have surfaced around social media. “I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters. What you bring to the table in a character as far as their heart, and their spirit, is what really counts.”


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