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the wiz live, the wiz, nbc, black people, black media, white media, black lives matter, philip defranco

Was NBC's 'The Wiz Live!' Too Black?

The Wiz Live!


If you guys didn’t know, The Wiz Live! premiered on NBC last night. It was a new adaptation of the 1975 Broadway musical, The Wiz’, a more soulful version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, starring Michael Jackson, Lena Horne, Diana Ross, and Richard Pryor. I haven’t watched The Wiz Live! yet, but I heard it was great. The musical featured well renown rapper, Common; Glee’s Amber Riley; Uzo Aduba, from Orange Is The New Black; singers, Ne-Yo & Mary J. Blige; actress, Queen Latifah; and several others.

Because I didn’t watch the show I wasn’t attentive to its trending comments on Twitter. But today, I watched Philip DeFranco’s video on Facebook entitled: “If You’re Offended By This I Hate You” –and my guy makes a valid point.

I tend to steer clear of racial discussions because no one enters into the conversation with the intent to understand; they only want their one-sided opinion to be heard. This is a prime example of that.

“OMG Black people would be so upset if there was an ‘all-white’ Wiz.”

the wiz live, the wiz, nbc, black people, black media, white media, black lives matter, philip defranco

Are these people not watching television? Have they not been watching television since its existence? I’m not the biggest BET fan, because quite frankly the channel sucks now, but there is a reason it exists. Robert L. Johnson created Black Entertainment Television because there were no other networks aimed at African-American people. I don’t care what anyone says, people need something to relate to. There’s no need for segregation and exclusion, correct; but people need to feel as though they are a part of the masses. & not to get into anything, but it’s the reason that statements like “Black Lives Matter” is relevant. It’s because somewhere along the way, someone made them feel as though they didn’t…or that they mattered, but not as much. Although I don’t post the hashtag on Twitter or Facebook, I get it–I recognize its purpose. And that’s the major problem, people refuse to believe that discrepancies exist. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a beautiful movie, but it was released in 1939, long before Black people were showing up in prominent roles on television– especially as something positive, or hopeful, or imaginative. Viola Davis made that speech because in all of the 67 years that the Emmy Award has been awarded, this was the FIRST year that a Black woman won. That’s nearly seventy years, guys.

For someone to even think of saying that there should be an ‘all-white’ Wiz means that they’re clearly delusional. Or maybe they’ve never actually seen The Wizard of Oz?

If you guys are interested in watching the show in its entirety, it’s linked above. I’ll be sure to check it out and you should too. Maybe then you’ll see why this version was just as wonderful as the original!

 Lynella