The official site for the 'Harry Potter and The Cursed Child' play revealed the stars cast in the lead roles on Sunday night.
In a move that veers away from the film versions of Harry Potter, the production cast a black actress, Noma Dumezweni, in the role of Hermione Granger.
Dumezweni, an award-winning actress from Swaziland, will star in the play alongside Jamie Parker as Harry and Paul Thornley as Ron. As the news spread, Dumezweni tweeted a tongue-in-cheek emoji-filled nod to the sudden burst of attention she was getting.
Many writers, fans, and critics have stated their beliefs that Hermione's character isn't necessarily white (there's very little mention of her skin color in J.K. Rowling's books and even the meaning behind some of those lines is often disputed). In a powerful article for Buzzfeed, Alanna Bennett wrote about the frequent appearance of Hermione as a black woman on fan art sites and how some women of color identified with Hermione and her struggles facing discrimination as a Muggle.
As for Rowling, she is thrilled with everything for the play, the eighth Harry Potter story based on an original story from J.K. Rowling, which features a grown-up Harry, Hermione, and Ron. 'I'm so excited with the choice of casting,' she said in a statement for Pottermore. 'I can't wait to see Jamie, Noma and Paul bring the adult Harry, Hermione and Ron to life on stage next summer.'
She also tweeted a show of support for Dumezweni specifically, also using emojis like Dumezweni did:
Though an eye roll at any of the haters would've worked, too. As a great Atlantic article from last year about the backlash to black actors being cast in 'white' superhero roles put it, 'The issue here isn't staying true to the original. The issue is racism.'
Yep, pretty much.
Words by Rebecca Rose; Cosmopolitan US