‘The Wiz Live!’ Slammed as Racist on Social Media for All-Black Cast

Musical has traditionally featured African-American actors, including Diana Ross and Michael Jackson in the 1978 film version

The Wiz Live

Some folks in the Twitterverse apparently don’t know their musical history.

Angry Twitter users took to the social media platform in the days leading up to NBC’s broadcast of “The Wiz Live!” to decry what they considered racist casting. The Thursday-night live production featured an all-black cast led by Queen Latifah, David Alan Grier, Ne-Yo and newcomer Shanice Williams.

That is in keeping with the history of the stage musical, which has always featured a black cast, as well as the 1978 film starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

However, many Twitter users vented about the casting nonetheless.

One user, after tweeting, “This is how I feel. Remaking something with an all-black cast seems…a tiny bit racist. #TheWiz,” deleted her tweet, then went on to explain the thinking behind that deleted tweet.

Those complaints about race sparked a heated debate during Thursday’s broadcast. As the hashtag #TheWiz trended throughout the night, the complainers came under fire themselves.

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron executive produced NBC’s “The Wiz Live!” with Kenny Leon serving as stage director and Matthew Diamond as TV director.