Black Excellence: The Wiz! (+ The Best Memes from Black Twitter)

The Wiz! live premiered on NBC last week and simply put, it was amazing. Between the cast, the costumes, the set, the graphics, the music, the makeup and the hair, all I can say is…

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tumblr_nyt6w6PQnT1tf70vho1_540I started working on this post during the premiere of the production but I found myself fixated on the screen. It was brilliantly done.Before going any further, I NEED to say that I’m not going to do what has already been (unnecessarily) done and compare old and new. The new production had a cleverly modern twist but still managed to pay homage to the original groundbreakers.

 

tumblr_nytbdahGSi1rl5evlo1_1280Queen Latifah (the Wizard), David Alan Grier (the Cowardly Lion), Uzo Aduba (Glinda), Elijah Kelley (the Scarecrow) and newcomer Shanice Williams (Dorothy) headlined the warmly received production, which followed in the footsteps of the 1978 film starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson and its 1975 Broadway predecessor. The show also featured Amber Riley (Addapearle), Common (The Bouncer), and Mary J. Blige (Evillene). Stephanie Mills returned to act as Aunt Em.


CNN reported that if one was tuning into #TheWiz, you must also follow the live stream of the notoriously funny, #BlackTwitter because, “They will be the ones to watch for the memes, the hashtags and the like that will determine whether “The Wiz Live” will be “da bomb” or a bust. They have been the ones who have roasted the likes of Lifetime’s Aaliyah and Whitney Houston biopics and delighted social media with #ThanksgivingWithBlackFamilies.”

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The Wiz! Live Is Racist…. against white people. 

#WhiteTwitter (if that’s even a thing), was extremely upset at the all-Black cast. Because an all-white isn’t racist, right?  Ultimately their concerns were without merit (as usual).

 

“What if we did an all-white cast of The Wiz?” (Because Wizard of Oz isn’t already “a thing”)

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I honestly can’t spend too long on this part because….. what the hell do I say? This “argument” demonstrates so many things I’ve said in the past. White people want to be oppressed. White people yearn for marginalization. On top of that, this shows how much they know about Black culture. For one night, the true essence of Blackness was displayed on national television and they couldn’t handle that. If this debuted on BET and not on NBC, white twitter wouldn’t have made a peep.

Emerald City

HONEY! Emerald City was lit!

The voguing, the choreography, and the costumes were all brilliantly done. I was beyond proud and extremely impressed.

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The ONLY thing missing from the Emerald City scene was RuPaul! I was hoping he’d come out to sashay with the Emerald City citizens.

 

Something To Be Mad About

I’ve been browsing the internet looking at reviews of the Wiz and it’s safe to say that if the review isn’t done by a Black person or an accomplice, they have deemed The Wiz! as a poorly done production. Their main arguments however are stem from calling the cast amateurish and calling the overall play, discriminatory. I sat back and thought of all the things to be mad about. So, if you’re upset at The Wiz!, here’s a comprehensive list of things you’d be better off being pissed about.

  • Be mad at trump.
  • Be mad at the secret sterilization of women of color.
  • Be mad that water has been shut off in Detroit.
  • Be mad that the textbooks in your children’s schools are lying are to them
  • Be mad that only by luck (white supremacy) will you find a full time job paying $13.50+ an hour to pay back the thousands of dollars in loans that you accumulated for the chance at a “better life”
  • Be mad that your privilege will invalidate your efforts.
  • Be mad that you can’t zoom past evening traffic.
  • Be mad that they are feeding us diseases. They’re literally breeding us to have cancer. You know…. cancer… the disease with no “cure”.
  • Be mad that Kylie Jenner’s cornrows & her terrible photo shoot in a wheel chair will be seen as edgy. Meanwhile, there are people who are missing out on opportunities they’re well qualified for because of cornrows and/or their disability.
  • Be mad that they are CHARGING third world countries for water
    Be mad that Islamic countries (that are the home to brown skinned Muslim)0 are only the countries viewed as terrorist nations.
  • Be mad that Africa has been depleted of ALL of it’s resources and one must report when they’ve come into contact with someone from West Africa during a hospital visit.
    Be mad that natural remedies are seen as insane and “weird” yet medication with a crippling side effects seem to make sense.
  • Be mad that bullshit is getting the most attention.

Trust me, I could go on and on
Be mad about a million OTHER things.

But please not a fictional story
and NOT when the original was all white.

There are far too many REAL things to be mad at.

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“Isn’t This Cultural Appropriation?”

The following question was posed: “Don’t you think The Wiz and Black Cinderella are cultural appropriation from traditionally white characters? You can’t have it both ways.”

Well. No.

The Tony Award-winning musical, The Wiz, which hit Broadway with an all-Black cast in 1975 before taking on the big screen in 1978, is an adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, an the American novel by L. Frank Baum. All your whining is 40 years late. But even back then, it still wouldn’t have held any weight.

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There is no “white cultural significance” behind a girl following a yellow brick road, a scarecrow wanting a brain, a tin man wanting a heart, or a lion longing for courage that can be viewed as appropriation when adapted by non-white people. Same goes for Cinderella. There is no “white cultural significance” behind a woman losing a shoe after meeting her prince charming. Not to mention that there have been various versions of Cinderella with the oldest ones tracing back to China (non-white) and Ancient Egypt (non-white people). (I brought this up because a lot of people were pressed with Keke Palmer being cast as Cinderella on Broadway.)

These fictional works of all-white characters have no racial significance to their tales nor do they cause any harm racially to whiteness when recreated with Black characters.

Whiteness, specifically American whiteness, has always been bombarded onto non-white people in and outside of America as if it is the default race and the standard for everything. There’s an obvious reason why the word “whitewashing” exists, but there is no such thing as “blackwashing” or “brownwashing.”

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With all of that being said, I wish people would just be frank and keep it instead of masking these complaints for the real reasons that you’re offended. Black people being proud of other Black people offends you. Black people uplifting other Black people offends you. The collectiveness, happiness, greatness, and recognition of Black people, especially on a grand scale, offends you because you view whiteness as standard and want to maintain that. 

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Why I Loved The Wiz!
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  • THE COSTUMES FOR THE MUNCHKINS AND PEOPLE OF OZ
    WERE SO COLORFUL AND BEAUTIFUL
  • The harmonies during “Ease On Down The Road” were KILLER
  • The beautiful natural hair. I was so happy to see braids, twistouts and of course….
  • The Cowardly Lion’s dreads
  • Amber Riley’s voice!
  • Shanice Williams… she’s 19 and slaying
  • Elijah Kelly. My God.
  • Ne-Yo’s dancing!
  • Even the CROWS killed it
  • The slippers were so cute!
  • The Munchkin with the red, jumbo twists
  • Queen Latifah is LIFE
  • Uzo Aduba is a GODDESS
  • Cirque Du Soleil killed it!
  • The poppies! Yasssss
  • Mary’s eyebrows
  • THE MELANIN.

 

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The Modern Twist!

         While this was a remake that successfully paid homage to the original cast, I loved the modern elements they included. In the beginning, one of the beloved Munchkins Hit The Quan, which was followed by Amber Riley using her iPad!

No one could ignore the presence of battery powered wands, the crows doing the nae-nae, and the scarecrow calling the tin-man “dope”. One of the biggest surprises came when we witnessed whipping and dabbing on stage! The bouncer (played by Common) and the voguing at Emerald City was definitely a nice touch. No matter what it may have been, this squad (according to Dorothy) didn’t cease to amaze us.

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No one could forget the Spice Girl reference! 

The singing and the dancing spoke to me so much. Everything sent chills thru me. It brings me so much joy when I see Black people live through music. The songs brought me to tears. The dancing, my goodness the dancing. Between the sultry Poppies and the vogue scene in Emerald City I could barely resist getting up and twirling around my dorm room.

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Overall The Wiz Live was exactly what I needed it to be for me and my sister. This entire production is Viola Davis’ Emmy speech realized. The only thing that separates us from anyone else is opportunity. It was a cultural masterpiece, a reflection of who we are, something to bond us with other Black folks as a family, and a work of art to inspire self-love and community.


 

Check out these hilarious memes and beautiful hair tutorials!

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