NBC’s ‘The Wiz’ Called ‘Racist’ for Having All-Black Cast

THE WIZ LIVE! -- Pictured: (l-r) -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)
NBC

NBC’s The Wiz Live! was a massive success for the network Thursday night, drawing an estimated 11.5 million viewers for the special live broadcast of the 1974 Tony-winning musical — however, some social media users, apparently unaware of the musical’s history, called the show racist for its use of an all-black cast.

Thursday night’s live remake of the musical (and of the 1978 movie of the same name starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson) featured an all-star cast including Queen Latifah, Common, Ne-Yo, Mary J. Blige, and Uzo Aduba.

But some social media users, apparently unfamiliar with the long-running play, were unhappy about the program’s casting.

https://twitter.com/C_DUBYouKnow/status/668629037766438913

https://twitter.com/90s_Jess/status/667136462312374272?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

https://twitter.com/MJTM/status/668622445172142081?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Many users defended the program’s casting and suggested critics read up about the old production.

https://twitter.com/I_am_zee_M/status/672616259503136768

Uproxx’s Marky Mark similarly reprimanded those who criticized the casting.

“If you run into any racists today yelling and moaning about this all black version of The Wizard of Oz that NBC seemingly pulled out of its ass and you really want to piss them off? Just tell them the movie was directed by the late great Sidney Lumet. Possibly the whitest white man who’s ever lived,” he wrote.

The Wiz Live! will have an encore presentation on NBC Saturday, December 19 at 8pm. Check out “He’s The Wiz” from last night’s show below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzbMGOsHsQo

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