Directorial Racial Choices and their Implications

I grew up in a mostly-white suburban town.  However, I was a part of the musical Once On This Island multiple times.  The premise of this musical is that there is a peasant girl (who was traditionally played by a black, female actor) who falls in love with a rich man (traditionally played by a white, male actor). The entire show centers around how these two very different worlds are not allowed to associate and talk to each other, and definitely not fall in love.  She winds up sacrificing herself for him essentially. In the two productions that I participated in, all … Read more

Designated Survivor: A Hypersensitive Culture?

I sit down every Wednesday to watch a new show called Designated Survivor. The show revolves around the idea of the designated survivor: the person the government picks to stay home when holding the State of the Union address at the capitol. The reasoning behind the idea of having a designated survivor is in case something were to happen to all three cabinets of the government during the address, there is someone to take over as President. The opening episode of the series is just this, an attack on the capitol building where a designated survivor now has to take … Read more

Art Imitating Life?: “Disgraced” at McCarter Theater

Every semester, the theatre department at Muhlenberg College requires students taking certain theatre classes to see a production off campus. The Pulitzer Prize winning play Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar at Princeton’s the McCarter Theater was chosen as that production for this semester. It was critically acclaimed when it premiered on Broadway and I was very excited to see it because I had not previously read the play before. Everything that occurred on stage came as a surprise to me and I was thrilled that a lot of the issues in the play paralleled directly with what we have been learning … Read more

We’re One in the Same?

In class this week, we discussed the perspective that some have of “variety is the spice of life” and to how this can quickly turn into the equally troublesome perspective of being “color-blind.” Being so celebratory of multiculturalism can easily turn into race erasure. Regarding diversity in race as simply variety or something to keep life interesting is diminishing of the serious struggles that people of all races have had to endure, past and present. After discussing these topics in class, I looked introspectively at my own experiences with these concepts. This brought back my feelings and understanding of a … Read more

Accusations of Reverse Racism on Hamilton: An American Musical

After taking home a record-setting 11 victories at the 2016 Tony’s, performing for the president at the White House multiple times, and selling tickets for record-breaking prices, there is no arguing that the success of the Broadway musical phenomena, Hamilton, has been revolutionary in its own right. However, these accomplishments have not come without controversy. Earlier this year, a casting call for Hamilton was released on social media, indicating that the producers were “Seeking NON-WHITE men and women…for Broadway and upcoming Tours.” This word choice received harsh criticism and accusations of “reverse racism” from those both inside and outside of … Read more

Contesting White Feminism

In my feminist media studies class, we’ve moved into the topic of the representation of black women in the media and how mainstream feminism is essentially white feminism, and neglects to acknowledge women of color. Over the last few years however, Beyoncé has really been promoting feminist ideas in her work, becoming a strong feminist voice for women of color. She has always championed the strong and independent woman even back in her TLC days, but her feminist messages have recently become more explicit. This is most notable in her song Flawless, where she uses sound bytes of a speech … Read more