On June 19, also known as Juneteenth, the newly established organization Broadway for Racial Justice released a video sharing anonymous accounts from Black actors of racism in the theatrical workplace. The video corresponds with the official launch of the #WeAreNotATrend campaign.
“I have called upon allies to take on the emotional labor of sharing these stories aloud, unrehearsed and in one take,” says BFRJ founder Brandon Nase. “This is not a moment of dramatized performative allyship. This is a moment of discomfort. This is a reality of what we as Black people endure is registered in real time by a hopeful many whose privilege has shielded them from our existence within this community.”
The video contains stories from costume fittings, workshop rehearsals, tech rehearsals, fight choreography sessions, and more, in which racist comments and behaviors have taken place.
“During a costume fitting for a national tour, the head of wardrobe said to my face that he would have to rethink some of my costumes because of my ‘big black girl booty,’” reads one actor.
“Coming up as a young artist, the first piece I learned was Macbeth's ‘Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow’ soliloquy,” another actor reads. “It was given to me by my director at an incredible youth program during our Shakespeare portion of learning. I didn't understand then why she put Shakespeare in my hands at such a young age. After that day, I took the same monologue to another program and was told that I didn't need to worry about doing Shakespeare, that I should stick to pieces that I'd be in, like Fences and Raisin in the Sun.”
The video contains 20 stories in total, which, no doubt, represent a fraction of these types of racist experiences that Black actors have endured in the workplace.
To learn more about Broadway for Racial Justice, click here.