Note to White Broadway Actors Upset about "Hamilton" Controversy: “Shuffle Along”

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Surprise, surprise, Caucasian actors feel that they are being excluded from “Hamilton,” the blockbuster Broadway play about America's founding fathers set to rap music after a casting call only requested "NON-WHITE ACTORS" for an upcoming audition on the third of May.

Well, I say it's high time for white Broadway actors to "Shuffle Along" to another audition. That was an intentional nod to the Broadway play of the same name starring Audra McDonald that made $235k from just two performances according to a Forbes article.

Back to my point, white actors need to "Shuffle Along" to the more than forty Broadway plays that are currently in production. In fact, if the uproar from Hamilton came 13 months earlier, the highly sought after "White Way" actors could have a made a beeline to "Blackbird" at the Belasco Theatre.

One concerned Broadway lover whose twitter name is "@branfire" appropriately pointed out on the Broadway Black website that a casting call for Blackbird specifically asked for, guess who? Caucasian actors of course. (See picture here: http://broadwayblack.com/hamilton-casting-call-or-the-making-of-magical-...

For years, African American actors have been kept out of the "Great White Way" for reasons such as “literary discretion,"too Black, “not Black enough, “unrealistic character portrayal,” and "not fitting into the director's vision." The list goes on and on.

Now, that a widely popular show which averages more than $500,000 a week has not invited a majority of white actors to the party, we can hear noble statements such as: “You cannot advertise showing that you have a preference for one racial group over another. As an artistic question – sure, he can cast whomever he wants to cast, but he has to give every actor eligible for the role an opportunity to try” said civil rights attorney and professor Randolph M. McLaughlin to CBS New York who first reported on the alleged “discriminatory” casting call.

Well, actors who have less melanin in their skin than yours truly, it’s time to swallow some of the same medicine that your founding fathers have dished to black actors for decades. Too bad white producers never had to make extra efforts to be inclusive of everyone like Hamilton's producers are now demonstrating.

The revised casting call now says: “‘Hamilton is holding open auditions for singers who rap! Seeking men and women, ages 20s to 30s, for the non-white characters as written and conceived for the currently running Broadway production and upcoming tours of ‘Hamilton!'”

“It is essential to the storytelling of ‘Hamilton’ that the principal roles —which were written for non-white characters (excepting King George) — be performed by non-white actors," the producers said in a statement. "This adheres to the accepted practice that certain characteristics in certain roles constitute a 'bona fide occupational qualification' that is legal. This also follows in the tradition of many shows that call for race, ethnicity or age specific casting, whether it's "The Color Purple" or "Porgy & Bess" or "Matilda." The casting will be amended to also include language we neglected to add, that is, we welcome people of all ethnicities to audition for 'Hamilton.' "

Finally, someone is standing up for African American and Latino actors all to the tune of an expected $1 billion of sales in New York City alone according to the Times.

I was searching for a prophetic African proverb to end with but instead, I will use the words of the "great" film director Woody Allen. I am rolling my eyes as I say that because not one film from this man has impacted my life for the better or widened my view on anything beneficial. Except to stay away from creepy white men that do not let age and accepted parental roles act as a deterrent for beginning a sexual relationship.

Back to Allen’s work. As reported on the Indie Wire blog in 2014, specifically the Shadow and Act section which chronicles cinema from the African Diaspora, he was asked about the lack of diversity in his films.

His response in part is as follows: “Not unless I write a story that requires it. You don’t hire people based on race. You hire people based on who is correct for the part...I cast only what’s right for the part. Race, friendship means nothing to me except who is right for the part.”

I agree.

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