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3 Heavenly Paintings By Black Artists That Capture Halle Bailey’s ‘Angel’

3 Heavenly Paintings By Black Artists That Capture Halle Bailey’s ‘Angel’

Chances are that you’ve heard of Halle Bailey, but it always comes with a hyphen, whether that’s Chloe x Halle or Halle as Ariel. Her voice is so impressive, by the way, that it can do loops and twists around church pews, falling into sync with its stone walls that help with its acoustics, and it has, growing up singing in her grandmother’s church. Yet her voice always shared space with someone else.

We’re not knocking those opportunities down, either. Her version of ‘Part of Your World’ lives up to the expectations one would have from listening to Jodi Bensons, and who doesn’t still like to tune into the 2020 sisterly collaboration of Ungodly Hour? The cover artwork shows them with metallic silver wings, which is important to note. But there never was a moment where that glistening spotlight merely shone upon Halle just for being herself, by herself, until now with ‘Angel.’

She shares that the piece came out of the harsh criticism of The Little Mermaid when some members of the public were upset by the role going to someone who is Black when the OG cartoon mermaid’s skin is white. Although Halle very much knocked everyone out of the water with how much humanity she bestowed on her portrayal, the numbers speak for themselves, with an outstanding 564.2 million at the box office.

Still, in those quiet moments in Ariel’s Secret Grotto when expectations were caving in, something additionally marvelous came to be. ‘Angel’ is a soft, lullaby-entrancing r&b track that speaks to the beauty of not only who she is but those with her skin type.

Black girl here, Black girl with the Black girl hair

Took a little sunkiss just to look like this

God-sent, you’re an angel...

Painting The Brushstrokes Of Heaven

We couldn’t help but notice, from the stunning music video’s visuals, the Michelangelo-like background that appears when immediately hitting play. Particularly the ones in the Sistine Chapel that he painted between 1508 and 1512, and to get even more specific, the Creation of Adam. It shows muted colors, diving his paintbrush (a sub-in for his sculpting tools that he was more prone to use) for deep browns, the same shades appearing in the feather-brushed clouds that hover around the track’s title card.

It would make sense that Halle drew inspiration from Michelangelo or even a similar artist due to her Christian background. As such, we wanted to hone in on the artistic nature of the ‘Angel’ music video by simultaneously driving home its acceptance of the Black community. To do so, we will highlight three paintings by Black artists that illustrate the song’s message and its music video segment counterpart. 

Lady Lying on The Piano

As we whisk out of the title card and the ivory keys start-up, we’re met with Halle’s side profile within the confines of a dark space. Of course, it represents the loneliness that she felt in July 2019. What’s captivating about this performance is that instead of spending the majority of her time with her gaze cast downward, she dares to look directly at the camera, at those who may have cast their preconceived judgments. “Do you still mistake your flaws for property?” she asks in maybe the most confronting lyric in the first verse, if not overall. Her hands also glaze across the water beneath, an Easter egg for The Little Mermaid.

A painting we’re matching up this moment with is by Ian Mwesgia. It captures a lady distraught on her piano, one leg curled underneath her bottom and the other draped downward, not entirely hitting the water as it curves upward, balancing on her tippy toes. The brushstrokes are primarily of a blue nature, the color creeping into the lake and the forest that surrounds her. There’s this feeling of the unknown, as the forest often doesn’t have an end, but in this sensation, she can rely on music, just like Halle. It’s called Lady Lying on The Piano and came to life in 2022.

Creation of God

There are two moments in the ‘Angel’ music video where Halle is on steps. The first is when she’s by herself, a long, draping peach dress falling onto the other stairs before her. By now, she’s reached the bridge, and the lyric “Perfectly a masterpiece in all of me, even my scars” anchors the entire moment. Then, in less than a second, the view switches to the other girls sitting beside her. They’re a combination of baby blues and grays. While that color combination helps to bring our focus back to Halle if it ever strays, a more important comparison is that each of them has their hair in a different hairstyle, showing off how truly beautiful Black locks are. 

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As the staircase symbolizes the heavens, we’ll draw on Creation of God by Harmonia Rosales for its painting counterpart. Crafted in 2017, this painting portrays a starkly older female with graying hair reaching out to someone who’s perhaps a young adult. Although there’s room between their fingers, the clouds behind them are breaking through, which shows that they’re also a creation of the elderly. She’s there to be there for her, just as she’s there for those she’s already collected, them already resting on her pod. 

Pure Intentions

Halle’s ‘Angel’ boils down to a conversation between herself and her inner child, which shines through in a truly vulnerable and poetic moment at the end of the music video. That Michelangelo-styling background is behind her as her hand reaches out, repeating “angel” infinitely over again in the sort of vocal range that deserves a Grammy, like, please truly give her one! Or two, or three, however many she wishes.

As the backing track dies out and the production comes to an end (this isn’t the same on the actual track if you were to stream it on Spotify, as instead, it ends with this gospel keyboard percussion that you can kinda hear faintly here), we see shots from Halle’s home videos. There are ones of her looking at the sun, testifying that her light dimmed at some point, but she’s claiming it back. Then there are others where she’s in front of a carousel, standing on top of a table singing, ones where she’s with her sister, and overall just doing child playtime things.

The artwork we’re spotlighting is Pure Intentions by Kayla Mahaffey. It was created in 2022. With all sorts of colors from a rainbow, there are pink braids in the girl’s hair, a green-tinged bird resting on the slope of her finger, and yellow flowers around her. The only thing that’s devoid of all color is a black snake. While the bird captivates the girl, the snake has quietly coiled itself around her arm. Often it’s the outside circumstances that a child shouldn’t experience that affect them, having the self-doubt seep in from intentions that were anything but pure. 

Within the few days that ‘Angel’ has been blessing our AirPods, it has adjacently earned Halle her first US iTunes top 10 as a solo artist, and the music video has well over three million views. We’re so proud of our winged friend! What’s your favorite part of the music video? Let us know by tweeting us @thehoneypop. Also, be sure to click the follow buttons on our Instagram and Facebook accounts for more Halle news, as we know this won’t be her only solitary foray. 


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