Anyone who has ever ventured into the Twitterspehere can attest to the fact that there are some real garbage people sharing their thoughts 140 characters at a time. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has had a recent bout with the gross underbelly of public discourse lately when Noma Dumezweni was cast as adult Hermione Granger for the upcoming play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. While Hermione was played by Emma Watson in the popular film series, the character isn’t explicitly white in the novels. Rowling was met with hateful backlash on Twitter, and in a recent interview with Observer, the author unleashed hell on the haters.
“With my experience of social media, I thought that idiots were going to idiot. But what can you say? That’s the way the world is. Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job.
I had a bunch of racists telling me that because Hermione ‘turned white’ – that is, lost colour from her face after a shock – that she must be a white woman, which I have a great deal of difficulty with. But I decided not to get too agitated about it and simply state quite firmly that Hermione can be a black woman with my absolute blessing and enthusiasm.”
John Tiffany, the director of the play, had less experience with online jerks and was even more taken aback by the vitriol directed Dumezweni’s way.
I am not as Twitter-familiar as Jo and Jack [playwright Jack Thorne], so I hadn’t encountered its dark side, which is just awful. But what shocked me was the way people couldn’t visualise a non-white person as the hero of a story. It’s therefore brilliant that this has happened.”
Honesty, the casting of an actress of color is such an important step. Representation is so important, and her portrayal is sure to resonate with countless fans. The fact that someone can only identify with a character of the same race is such a closed minded view that encourages a narrowly homogenous portrayal of life and culture. The play opens in London’s West End at the end of July, so best of luck to Ms. Dumezweni and the rest of the cast as they carry on the grand tradition of Hogwarts’ best.
(Via The Guardian)