Broadway Shows Bans Whites: Performances for ‘Black-Identifying’ Audiences Only
'Slave Play' will not permit audiences of certain races to attend
A new Broadway show will ban white people and most other races from attending and will limit performances to be for "black-identifying" audiences only.
When the critically acclaimed drama Slave Play returns to Broadway for a limited engagement starting November, whites, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, and all other non-black races will be blocked from viewing it.
Producers announced the shows will be invitation-only performances limited to “black-identifying” people.
Slave Play was nominated for 12 Tony Awards but struck out during Sunday’s ceremony.
It ended up taking home no awards despite being hotly tipped to dominate Broadway’s biggest night.
The time-hopping drama, written by Jeremy O. Harris, tells the story of interracial relationships throughout American history, using slavery as the central motif to explore racism, microaggressions, and other contemporary ideas.
The play will return to Broadway starting November 23 and run through January 23 at the August Wilson Theatre, after which it will transfer to Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum, accoridng to Breitbart.
In their announcement, producers said they are also bringing back black-only audiences in what they are calling “Black Out” performances.
These will be “invitation-only performances to an all-black-identifying audience so they can experience and discuss the play.”
Slave Play‘s original Broadway run featured several “Black Out” performances.
Robert O’Hara, the play’s director, explained to the New York Times in 2019: “We as black people have always had to find a space inside whiteness.”
He said that viewing a performance among an all-black audience “sort of allows you to put off some of the trauma that you carry around every day in the world, just having to live inside a black body, and certainly a black, queer body.”
Harris, the playwright, told American Theatre magazine all-black audiences responded differently to the play.
“It felt like we turned the ‘hallowed’ space of a theatre into just a building—a building with new possibilities and rules,” he said.
"People got out of their seats to go to the bathroom when they needed, people spoke, people laughed loudly, talked back, people (mon dieu!) texted with their ringers off and screens turned low."
“And the whole room felt free. It was like a concert more so than a play and like people in the room were discovering a new amazing band.”
While barring certain races from a public event is clearly illegal, Slave Play appears to have skirted potential legal trouble by making the black-only performances accessible exclusively by invitation.
The Alamo Drafthouse cinema chain was sued in 2017 for holding female-only screenings of Wonder Woman.
Slave Play donated $10,000 to the National Bailout Fund in 2020 at the height of the Black Lives Matter riots that laid waste to major cities.