Black Broadway Acts Are Shining a Spotlight On Racism Within The Theater Community

Broadway stars are using their platforms to come forward about the racism that they’ve experienced in the theater community and are calling for action to combat racism and social injustices. Black acts in nearly every realm of entertainment have spoken out since the murder of George Floyd by white police officer Derek Chauvin ignited protests in every state and multiple countries around the world.

In a video shared to his Twitter on Monday, “Dear White People,” actor Griffin Matthews said that “Racism has been stealing our dreams, choking our stories, looting our talent and then discarding us when we are no longer valued.” Matthews went on to slam others in the theater and film industry who are “pretending to be allies,” including directors, choreographers, agents, stage managers, casting directors, press teams, and reviewers in the industry stating, “that is why Broadway is racist.” Matthews said that the footage of Amy Cooper, the white woman who wrongly called cops on a black man in Central Park, left him “triggered.”

On Sunday, Broadway actor Christian Dante White also shared a video to Twitter, calling for action in the wake of the current unrest stemming from the murder of George Floyd.

“It’s time to get educated. 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.”

Broadway stage manager Cody Renard Richard took direct aim at the theater communities, which has directed racism towards him multiple times throughout his career.

“I’m exhausted. I’m tired of walking out of the room when I feel uncomfortable because of you. I’m tired of laughing awkwardly when your racist jokes aren’t funny. I’m tired of having to defend MY skin color, just to make YOU feel better. I’m so tired and I simply won’t stand for it anymore,” Richard wrote.

Playwright Dominique Morisseau posted her thoughts on the recent protests to her Facebook, specifically calling out those who appear to be particularly invested in the destruction of major corporations and not the motive behind the protests.

“When we mourn corporations that are on fire, we have to ask ourselves – do said corporations mourn the daily fires that plague us on the streets? On our jobs? When we sacrifice our health during a pandemic to ensure that their economic bottom line is reached?”

Non-blacks in the theater community are now standing in solidarity with the black community and apologizing for failing to show their support sooner.

“I’m sorry for not pushing harder and faster and speaking those truths under the Hamilton banner. While we live in a country where black people are under attack by emboldened white supremacy, police brutality and centuries of systemic anti-black racism, it’s up to us in words and deeds to stand up for our fellow citizens, it’s up to us to do the work to be better allies and have each other’s backs.” “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda said in a Twitter video.

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