It’s becoming a ridiculously redundant scenario. A Black actor or actress is cast in a role that is assumed to be “for whites only”. Enter the rag tag brigade of internet trolls who simply cannot stomach the idea. The invisible keyboard gangster brigade dons their egg avatars or other anonymous accoutrements for their fake profiles and the sniping begins. Such has been the case for English actress Noma Dumezweni, who has been cast to play the role of “Hermione Granger” in the stage adaptation of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Oh, did we mention this actress beat out Benedict Cumberbatch for her role in A Raisin in the Sun and received the coveted Olivier Award for best performance in a supporting role? You would think that her talent would be enough, right? But in 2016 skin color is still sadly a factor for many people who have only moved far enough out of the stone age to learn how to anonymously troll on the internet.
The Swaziland born actress said simply of the hateful critics (because trolls need simplicity),
It stems from ignorance. They don’t want to be a part of the creative act. To say it’s not as it was intended is so unimaginative. I don’t think they understand how theater works. We’re here to heal you, make you smile and whisk you away.
It’s disheartening that Dumezweni even had to clap back. After all, the actress has the support of Emma Watson who played the character in movies.
Can't wait to see Noma Dumezweni as Hermione on stage this year. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ #harrypotterandthecursedchild #2016
— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) January 2, 2016
AND most importantly, the support of the writer J.K. Rowling, who took to Twitter to express her thoughts.
Fortunately, at least some folks get it…
It’s really pretty sad that in this day and age, the decision to be inclusive and diverse has to be defended or explained. The bottom line is this, Black people have always been here, regardless of their underrepresentation in the arts. It’s way past time for those who cannot seem to grasp that the world is comprised of more than whiteness-even in the arts-to have several seats…just not in the theater.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opens at the Palace Theatre London in July 2016, with preview performances beginning in May 2016.