A Quick Note on #TheWiz
I want to take a moment to reflect upon the fact that, last night, an almost-entirely black cast of talented women and men sang, danced and acted their hearts out before a primetime television audience. They were led by a black director, their moves coordinated by a black female choreographer (Fatima, that was some truly next-level work). And that matters.
Moreover, those women and men rocked dance styles that originated within the black community (sorry Madonna, but Voguing came from Harlem). They heralded curvy black women as breathtakingly beautiful — and rightfully so. They celebrated gayness, and gave a big ol’ middle finger to the notion of a gender binary. They got SUPER feminist. And that matters.
It matters a LOT.
It matters that these performers got these opportunities, as they so rarely exist for people of color. And it matters that the black women, men and (especially) children who so rarely get to see themselves on television/in film at ALL, got to see this cast joyfully and energetically singing about a “brand new day.”
Representation is not a frivolous concern — a society’s music and stories should be a reflection of all who comprise it, and presently, our entertainment is still, mostly, a look at the palest and straightest among us. I hope, so much, that “The Wiz,” and “Hamilton,” and “Empire,” and all of these other diverse, talent-filled displays are indicators of a tomorrow where the pop culture we consume is truly and genuinely inclusive.
Regardless of how one feels about individual vocal ability, or the new song written just for this new iteration of the show, or the whereabouts of the damn dog, that is something worth celebrating.