May 2023 Issue
Table of Contents

May 2023 Digital Cover Experience

“This movie, this role, is way bigger than me. The impact it’s going to have on future generations is so important.”

Halle Bailey
NOTES FROM THE

Editor

 
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This month’s editorial theme of Nature x Nature is an exploration of the ties that bind—from the connection to self found in communing with nature—to the act of mothering. Our May 2023 cover star Halle Bailey’s rise continues as she makes waves with her history-making role as Ariel in the live-action remake of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Elevating her stardom to new levels, the ingenue is primed for her big-screen debut hitting theaters on May 26th. In her EBONY cover story, Bailey discusses the film’s timeless themes, how she’s handled the haters, and her own coming-of-age journey. This month we’re also taking a look at unique journeys to parenthood and transformative summer getaways. Plus, thoughtful Mother’s Day gifts and a celebration of fellowship through food with our inaugural Food & Wine Honors.

 
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HALLE BAILEY: MADE FOR THIS MOMENT

Some say our destiny is written in stone. Others believe we craft our own future. For Halle Bailey, her remarkable path from child star to Hollywood actress might be the result of both. On May 26, the actress and singer-songwriter is set to make her big-screen debut as Ariel in Disney’s live-action remake of the animated classic The Little Mermaid. It’s a role some might not have anticipated for a performer like Bailey—a young Black woman with natural long, flowing locs—but one that she was, without a doubt, destined to play. “I just feel like this is all a part of God’s plan for me,” Bailey tells EBONY. The Little Mermaid is the story of a beautiful mermaid, Ariel—the youngest daughter of King Triton—who longs to learn more about the world beyond the sea. She ends up falling in love with a handsome prince, and she makes a deal with an evil sea witch so she can experience life on land. However, Ariel ends up placing her life and her father’s kingdom in jeopardy. The Disney film is an exploration of living life between two worlds, and the misunderstandings others have about each of them—something to which Bailey can completely relate.

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Photo by Keith Major for EBONY Media.

“’The Little Mermaid’ was the most intense, excruciatingly beautiful experience of my life. I’ve never done something like that before. I didn’t know it was possible.”

Halle Bailey
MAKING THE COVER FT. HALLE BAILEY

EBONY’s May cover shoot was created while the editorial team was in town during Oscars week. On a brisk Thursday morning, we headed to Malibu, to photograph The Little Mermaid star Halle Bailey–who would debut the trailer for Disney’s much-anticipated film during the 95th Academy Awards ceremony the following Sunday. On the heels of a whirlwind schedule of press appearances and photoshoots, Bailey rocked a series of dreamy looks in aquatic tones at a sleek home and nearby Zuma beach. Take a peek inside the magic of our cover shoot in this exclusive video. Plus, behind-the-scenes photography by lenswoman Ruthellia Jackson.

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Photo by Ruthellia Jackson for EBONY Media
A NEW ARIEL INSPIRES JOY FOR YOUNG BLACK GIRLS

Since 1937 and the introduction of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Disney princesses have set a particular standard about the way that women, especially American women, should show up in the world. Although many appreciated the daintiness shown on-screen with the earliest princesses— Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty—over time, the identity of the princesses began to shift. This shift particularly began with the 1989 film The Little Mermaid. The story told of a daughter, who happens to be a mermaid, not only looking to break out of her father’s shadow but discover the fullness of what life can be. Differing from the original fable, this young mermaid named Ariel sought to define her own destiny and was willing to do whatever it took to be granted the opportunity of self-exploration. This plot is why so many were thrilled to hear that Disney would be releasing a live-action version of this beloved movie.

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Courtesy of Disney.

“I just feel like this is all a part of God’s plan for me.”

Halle Bailey
HALLE BAILEY’S HOLLYWOOD JOURNEY

Since stepping into the spotlight as a young teen, Halle Bailey has made a name for herself in her own unique way. From singing with her sister Chloë in their bedroom to becoming one of the most iconic Disney princesses, she has evolved into a standout star that stays true to her core values and goals. Let’s reminisce on Halle’s rise as a Hollywood superstar, from her early days as a young teen with a bright future to a young adult who knows her worth.

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Image: Corey Nickols/Getty Images for IMDb.
36 TIMES HALLE BAILEY SHOWED OUT ON THE RED CARPET

EBONY’s May 2023 cover star Halle Bailey has been making waves before she was even cast as Ariel in Disney’s live action rendition of its iconic film The Little Mermaid. From singing covers with her big sis Chloe on YouTube, starring in ‘grown-ish’ and being cast in the new musical film adaptation of The Color Purple, Halle is a Gen-Z “it girl.” Lately, she’s been leaning into her Disney princess phase of dressing by wearing standout gowns on the carpet, worthy of any Queen-in-training. A recent case in point is this year’s Met Gala in which she donned a white halter-neck gown with a dramatic ruffled cape, both by the Italian fashion house Gucci.

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Courtesy of Getty Images.

“Making this film was confirmation that my own abilities and belief in myself is enough.”

Halle Bailey
INSIDE THE ISSUE WITH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF MARIELLE BOBO

This month’s editorial theme of Nature x Nature is an exploration of the ties that bind—from the connection to self found in communing with nature—to the act of mothering. Our May 2023 cover star Halle Bailey’s rise continues as she makes waves with her history-making role as Ariel in the live-action remake of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Elevating her stardom to new levels, the ingenue is primed for her big-screen debut hitting theaters on May 26th. In her EBONY cover story, Bailey discusses the film’s timeless themes, how she’s handled the haters, and her own coming-of-age journey. This month we’re also taking a look at unique journeys to parenthood and transformative summer getaways. Plus, thoughtful Mother’s Day gifts and a celebration of fellowship through food with our inaugural Food & Wine Honors.

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Photo by Keith Major for EBONY Media.
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