Viola Davis presents the Hollywood breakout actress award at the 23rd annual Hollywood Film Awards on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Viola Davis presents the Hollywood breakout actress award at the 23rd annual Hollywood Film Awards on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Sandra Oh call out racism in theatre

By Bang Showbiz Time of article published Jun 10, 2020

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Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Sandra Oh are among those who have signed an open letter calling out racism against BIPOC from "White American Theatre".

The trio joined over 300 people - including Uzo Aduba, Sterling K. Brown, Cynthia Erivo, Danai Gurira and Leslie Odom Jr. - in calling out 'White American Theatre' and the racism against black, indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) in the industry.

The group goes on to explain that they have come together, "to let you know exactly what ground we stand on in the wake of our nation's civic unrest," following the Black Lives Matter marches across the world after the killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by a white police officer last month.

The letter states: "We see you. We have always seen you. We have watched you pretend not to see us.

"We have watched you un-challenge your white privilege, inviting us to traffic in the very racism and patriarchy that festers in our bodies, while we protest against it on your stages. We see you.

"We have watched you program play after play, written, directed, cast, choreographed, designed, acted, dramaturged and produced by your rosters of white theatremakers for white audiences, while relegating a token, if any, slot for a BIPOC play. We see you.

"We have watched you promote anti-Blackness again and again. We see you.

"We have watched you say things like - I may be white, but I'm a woman. Or, I may be white, but I'm gay. As if oppression isn't multi-layered. We see you.

"We have watched you exploit us, shame us, diminish us, and exclude us. We see you. We have always seen you. And now you will see us."

The statement, which can be viewed at www.weseeyouwat.com, also shares a link to a Change.org petition.

A message alongside the petition reads: "We stand on this ground as BIPOC theatremakers, multi-generational, at varied stages in our careers, but fiercely in love with the Theatre. Too much to continue it under abuse. We will wrap the least privileged among us in protection, and fearlessly share our many truths.

"About theatres, executive leaders, critics, casting directors, agents, unions, commercial producers, universities and training programs. You are all a part of this house of cards built on white fragility and supremacy. And this is a house that will not stand. This ends TODAY.

"* Please do not donate monetarily to amplify this campaign. Direct all funds towards #blacklivesmatter*"

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