Stephanie Mills Pens Message Of Support To Halle Bailey While Sharing Similar Experience w/ Racist Critics Amid Her Run As Dorothy On Broadway: ‘I Got So Much Hate Mail’
Famed actress Stephanie Mills is speaking out against racist bullies.
The renowned entertainer, and original star of the Broadway musical “The Wiz,” recently shared support for “The Little Mermaid” star Halle Bailey following ongoing race-based criticism about her casting in the live-action remake.
As we previously covered, leading up to the May 26th premiere of the classic Disney revival, there was much backlash over the lead role. Halle Bailey, 23, who shines in the film as Ariel, has gracefully addressed her critics during several interviews. In one instance, the “Grown-ish” alum expressed she wasn’t “shocked” anymore by negative racist comments and will choose to embrace the good.
In the 1989 animated cartoon, the fictional sea creature is drawn with fairer, more white skin. Her animated father King Triton, however, has notably darker skin.
It’s no surprise that Stephanie Mills, 66, had a similar experience when she was cast to portray the role of Dorothy on Broadway for the 1974 run of “The Wiz.” The movie is a reimagining of the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz,” which stars Judy Garland, a white woman, as Dorothy.
Offering words of encouragement while drawing parallels between her own experience and the recent backlash faced by Bailey, Mills wrote:
“As a young Black girl playing the [role] as Dorothy in 7-time Tony Award-winning Broadway play The Wiz, I know what this baby #HalleBailey has been dealing with. I got so much hate mail, I was told Judy Garland ‘is turning over in her grave.’ All because a little Black girl was playing a [role], that was once played by a white girl.”
“It’s sad to see the same thing is happening to this beautiful, talented, smart and intelligent actress. “Halle, God put you in this place and time. So let your light shine. Hold your head up high, walk in your peace, and celebrate the greatness that you are.”
“They told me I would never make it on Broadway, they told me I couldn’t sing, they told me I was too dark, I have watched and listened to ‘they’ try to tell you why you shouldn’t and couldn’t. Well this weekend your movie comes out. I am so proud of you and how you handled all the naysayers.”
Shutting down the naysayers is precisely what the film did! Following a very successful press run, “The Little Mermaid” reportedly brought in a record-setting $117.5 million on opening weekend in the US alone. The debut made history as the fifth-best opening for Memorial Day weekend.
Unfortunately, the production continues to fight against internet trolls. It was reported that online reviews for the film’s international premiere were adjusted due to “review bombing” – when individuals who haven’t even seen the film post negative reviews to serve their own agenda.
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