Broadway Stars Call Out Racist & Silent Theater Community

Photo: Leon Bennett/FilmMagic.
In every field across the entertainment industry, stars are speaking up to share their support for the nationwide protest against systemic racism in all of its manifestations. And the Broadway world is not exempt from white supremacy, and its Black and brown stars have had enough.
A number of Broadway professionals have come forward with personal anecdotes about their experiences with racism in the industry, revealing that the stage comes with its own struggles. Griffin Matthews, a stage actor known for his role on Netflix's Dear White People, jumped on Twitter to share his own vantage point as a Black Broadway star. Matthews pointed out that people like Amy Cooper — the woman who went viral after calling the police on a Black man in Central Park early last week — are all over the Broadway industry, and their racism bleeds into their work; they're directors, choreographers, agents, stage managers, casting directors, press teams, and reviewers who pretend to be allies while stifling the success of Black entertainers.
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"White people literally need not one Black person to become a Broadway sensation," he said. "To become a millionaire. To become a Tony winner. To become Broadway history — not one Black person."
Stage manager Cody Renard Richard echoed the sentiment, sharing the numerous microaggressions that he had personally experienced all throughout his decade of working on Broadway.
"My entire career i've had to prove that I was exceptional just to thrive and get the same job as some as my less than exceptional peers," Richard wrote in a lengthy note on social media. "I'm tired of having to defend MY skin color, just to make YOU feel better."
How can Broadway professionals stand in solidarity with the Black community in this time? Well, says Christian Dante White (My Fair Lady), you can start by speaking up.
"It’s time to get educated,” he implored in a Twitter video last weekend. “It’s time to learn, it’s time to watch the documentaries, read the articles and understand the history, understand the rage, understand why we are where we are right now. Silence is not an option.”
After learning about the history of white supremacy and the consequences of anti-racism, there must be actionable plans to change their spheres of influence. Ariana DeBose (West Side Story, Hamilton) used her Twitter account to implore her 26,000 followers to do the work beyond just talking about racism.
"We are not looking for empty promises of solidarity," DeBose explained plainly. "We are looking for follow-through. True allyship is earned."
To help bring attention to the police killing of George Floyd, you can sign the Change.org petition here, or donate to local organizations like Black Vision Collective or Reclaim the Block via the Minnesota Freedom Fund here.

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