Halle Bailey–who styles herself simply Halle in the musical world–is more than just the star in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
This 23-year-old Georgia native is stepping outside of acting and making her solo debut into the mainstream music world with the single “Angel.”
This track features a beautiful turn on the piano and finds Bailey reassuring herself that she is more than her flaws and will confidently rise above the negative perceptions and words of others.
Bailey asks listeners if they still allow their negative thoughts to define them (“Do you ever make it out of your head?/Do you still swim in your thoughts?/Do you still mistake your flaws for property?”).
She tells her audience that instead of allowing this internal, negative definition to tell them who they are, they should instead see themselves as “angels” who, though flawed, only “fall on clouds” when they stumble.
Bailey then takes this information she’s doling out to heart by affirming herself, saying “Black girl here, Black girl with the Black girl hair/God-sent, you’re an angel.”
She’s intent on making sure that she does not succumb to the negativity and hate of others (“Some might hate and they wait on your fall/They don’t know there’s a grace for it all”). Instead, she declares “my flaws don’t make me/…Perfectly a masterpiece, even my scars”).
Sonically, this song is beautiful. And the original intent is surely to encourage young women to look past their flaws and embrace the beauty of who they are, both outwardly and intrinsically.
The only potential issue is that Bailey, along with many artists nowadays, puts her belief solely in herself (“I’m a big deal, get sick of holding it in/Rich blood, you can probably see the gold in my skin”) claiming that even through her flaws she could be compared to something higher than herself. Something angelic.
A lot of people had many opinions when Halle Bailey came on to the music scene in the form of The Little Mermaid. People were upset that Ariel would no longer look the same as she did in the original, animated film. And they took to the internet to let her know.
In a way, this song seems like a firm-but-kind word to those who had negative things to say about her being chosen for the role. And Halle seems to address this as she comments about her single, telling Pitchfork: “This song for me is so very special and near and dear to my heart. With everything I’ve gone through the past 3-4 years, suddenly finding myself in this bubble of all these eyes and new opinions, it was easy for me to feel doubt in myself and who I was.”
She continues, “This song for me was my climb out of those feelings, a mantra and promise to myself that the work I’m doing here on earth matters and that I matter. I wanted to be able to embrace and be proud of myself and who I am naturally through and through. I hope other brown and Black girls and everyone in general feel embraced, respected, and inspired hearing the words of this song.”
This is a beautiful sentiment. An encouraging one. It’s important for all people to feel embraced, respected and inspired. But it’s more important to remember that, as Christians, our worth, value and identity are defined by God and not by our own standards.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).