Audra McDonald wants Broadway to be louder about police brutality.

“The theater community comes together to raise awareness for lots of issues–LGBTQ issues, issues with immigration, things like that,” she told Gayle King on CBS This Morning, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “But when the George Floyd murder happened, it just felt a little too silent from the theater community. It absolutely bothered me.”

The lack of outrage in Broadway led McDonald and friend and Broadway star LaChanze to create Black Theatre United, which now includes many of Broadway’s Black stars, writers and producers including Norm Lewis, Brandon Victor Dixon, Phylicia Rashad, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Wendell Pierce, Tamara Tunie and more.

“We thought, let’s bring our community together and start to raise awareness and work on the micro issue of systemic racism within the theater community, and then the macro issue of systemic racism within our country,” she said.

The coalition has now created several virtual events and a PSA regarding the 2020 census as part of its mission to put Black issues at the forefront of Broadway.

“We’re very much underrepresented within the theatrical community,” she said. “There are very few people of color in casting offices, in publicity offices, in stage management, in the hair and makeup unions and in the carpentry union, and that’s just as important. We need to see representation on all sides.”

“We also need to open up the pipeline to make sure that young people who want to have a career in the theater have access and resources to get there and that means more mentorship, more paid internships,” she continued.

McDonald will be seen next in Respect, the Aretha Franklin biopic starring Jennifer Hudson.


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