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Stephanie Mills wrote an open letter saying she’s “proud” of Halle Bailey for her performance in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”

The R&B icon rose to stardom as “Dorothy” in the original Tony Award-winning Broadway play The Wiz, which ran from 1974 to 1979.

Stephanie claims she received backlash for playing Dorothy in the all-Black Broadway play. She compared her experience to Halle, who received similar backlash for playing Ariel in the live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1989 animation film.

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“I was told Judy Garland ‘is turning over in her grave,” Stephanie wrote on her Facebook page. “It’s sad to see the same thing is happening to this beautiful, talented, smart and intelligent actress.”

She continued: “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.”

“We have never met, however I have been in your shoes. Baby girl, let them know that this #LittleMermaid is made of teflon,” she added.


Fans of the 1989 animation film protested when Disney announced Halle’s casting in the live-action remake in 2019. Production was delayed for 2 years by the pandemic, but fans continued to let Disney know that no one asked for the remake.

Despite the backlash, The Little Mermaid topped the box office in the United States — raking in $118 million over the 4-day holiday weekend.