THEATRE VIBES: The rebirth of Black Theatre commenced in May of 1921 when Shuffle Along opened the curtains at the Sixty-Third Street Theatre in New York City. Ironically, as Black Wall Street was set ablaze by angry white mobs in Tulsa, Black Broadway set the theatre world on fire – attracting unprecedented white audiences.
Lauded for it’s unheralded introduction of Black Love, the Shuffle Along production pushed America forward, allowing two Black people to fall in love onstage. Regarded as the epitome of the Harlem Renaissance, the Shuffle Along musical ran on Broadway for a record setting 500-some-odd performances. Despite being critiqued by skeptics [for boldly daring to shine a light on BLACK-ON-BLACK LOVE during a time when Black Sexuality was considered dangerous and American Theatre was still in blackface], anomalous aesthetics such as “more than the usual number of comedians under cork in one show,” vivacious dancers, and an all-black cast set the tone for the landmark musical comedy to breakdown color barriers.
We’d like to take a moment to pay homage to Flournoy Miller, Aubrey Lyle, Eubie Blake, Noble Sissle, and the Howard Theatre for removing the blackface and orchestrating the beauty of Black faces on stage.
^Stevie #BECAUSEOFTHEMWECAN | #scribesandvibes | #therebirthofcool | THE REBIRTH OF BLACK THEATRE