Theatre Company Responds to Racist Backlash Following Black Woman’s Casting as Joan of Arc

"There’s a story that I’m preparing to tell you. Whoever you are, I have something for you."

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The casting of Condola Rashad in “Saint Joan” was met with fierce racist criticism after Manhattan Theatre Club released a photo of her in character. Rashad, the daughter of actress Phylicia Rashad who currently stars on “Billions,” will play Joan of Arc — who was white — and showcase her rise and fall in 15th-century France.

While MTC eagerly tweeted the news with a poster and a caption complete with a heart-eye emoji, commenters were not feeling the love.

“Let’s cast MLK as a white male and see what happens,” one person tweeted.

“Joan of Arc was white. Why would a Black woman play her character?” said another before adding, “There is lots of African history. No need to steal and erase ours.”

“Drumroll please, for another case of flagrant blackwashing of European heritage,” a user said. “Funny that my opinion is a hate crime but [purposely] eliminating white characters from casts about white history is not.”

“Pleasing a demographic > cultural and historical accuracy,” a user said. “Disgusting that we live in this age.”

Others took to the racist mocking of Black vernacular.

“WE WUZ JOAN,” one person tweeted.

“WE WUZ FRENCH,” tweeted another.

In response to the bigotted criticism, MTC released a statement to Broadway Black defending the casting.

“Manhattan Theatre Club is proud to be producing Bernard Shaw’s timeless and powerful play ‘Saint Joan’ on Broadway at our Friedman Theatre starting performances April 3rd.

“The role of Joan has been played on Broadway by some of the finest actresses of their generation and we are thrilled that Condola Rashad will continue that tradition and star in our production directed by Daniel Sullivan.”

Following the backlash, Rashad herself tweeted that her portrayal of Joan of Arc is something for everyone.

 

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