How 'The Wiz Live!' made us proud to be black
December 06, 2015 at 2:00 am
The performance made one thing very clear, we need more black images on major broadcasting networks. The media’s complete disregard to develop consistent and positive black representation is much to be desired, yet The Wiz Live! proved that black brilliance continues to command the attention of the world, especially during prime time television. According to NBC, 11.5 million viewers watched the production (2 million more than Peter Pan Live!), supporting the fact that black people within the arts is possibly the greatest thing ever.
What I saw on the screen was more than a rejuvenation of a timeless classic. I saw authentic actors with the ability to stand on their own while paying homage to a film that broke barriers. We were watching more than a show, we were transferred into an experience. From the scarecrows syncing the Nae-Nae to Mary J. hitting the Quan to Shanice using the word “conversate,” we were able to justify our image in a broadcast that was saturated with black people, black dancing, black vernacular, and non-conforming gender roles. It was a melanin takeover — and the entire world stopped to watch it.
With a media that continues to run a pre-set agenda that devalues our narratives, The Wiz Live! only amplified our brilliance. This only proves that we need more films, art, and black people magic to not only show the world who we are, but to reinforce our identity for future generations to come.
After the conclusion of the show (and after I picked myself up off the floor) I had only one question in my mind for Hollywood: What will be your new excuse now?
Morgan Cruise is a high school English Teacher in Washington, DC. When she is not writing lesson plans, she’s either writing multicultural children’s books or entertaining her obsession of positive black television and films. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @TheMorganCruise and view her children’s literature at www.blackhairisgoodhair.com.