I was thrilled to see J.K. Rowling tweeting her approval of black actress Noma Dumezweni as the choice to play Hermione in the new production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (previews on 7th June @ Palace Theatre). After so much doom and gloom reporting on this blog, it was nice to have the opportunity to write about someone standing up for what they believe in.
Rowling’s response came after she received a tweet requesting her opinion on the casting of a black actress as Hermione. Rowling’s response read as follows “brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione”. J.K. Rowling is a wonderful role model not just on the topic of racism. She has also spoken out about her experience with Depression and raised awareness for mental health. It is phenomenal to see a successful female openly speaking out about her opinions. One reason I love J.K. is for her strength of character which she continues to prove on her twitter feed. I keep a post-it note with her quote “a successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at them” on my computer screen as a constant reminder. Rowling has faced her own adversity and, like Dumbledore’s pet Fawkes, she has risen a phoenix from the ashes.
Despite Rowling’s wonderful work it does sadden me that people felt the need to question the casting of a black actress. Dumezweni has won a best supporting actress Olivier award in 2005 and has both films and theater acting in her repertoire. It is upsetting to see that in this day and age people’s skin colour is part of the conversation concerning job eligibility rather than someone’s professional qualifications. I have yet to see anyone questioning the choice of Jamie Parker or Paul Thornley as Harry and Ron. From what I can tell Paul is not particularly ginger-haired and Jamie does not possess startling green eyes. I may be wrong on this point; I am going by a single image of the newly-appointed cast. Either way I believe my point stands. We need to encourage our society to judge job eligibility on someone’s merits not on their skin-colour, nationality, religiosity, sexual preference, gender or medical history. Until such time as this happens I will be reminding people about the Equality Act 2010 and that at the end of the day we are all humans.
To read more about the Equality Act click here