A taxpayer-funded Canadian theater organization has sparked outrage after announcing an event that will only allow “Black-identifying audiences” to attend.
The National Arts Centre in Ottawa is putting on a “Black Out” night at its Babs Asper Theatre on Feb. 17 — the middle of Black History Month — for the performance of “Is God Is,” a play written by and starring Black women.
“A Black Out is an open invitation to Black-identifying audiences to come and experience performances with their community,” the theater announced earlier this month.
“The evenings will provide a dedicated space for Black theatregoers to witness a show that reflects the vivid kaleidoscope that is the Black experience,” they wrote.
The announcement sparked backlash on social media.
One Twitter user wrote, “Cultural Apartheid. The identitarian left proudly appropriates an oldie but goody. Canada is starting to make the USA seem like Hungary.”
“Racism is alive and well in Canada. I hope this event is boycotted,” another said.
One user questioned, “So given that the National Arts Centre now does single-race-only shows, are they planning on doing a whites only show?”
However, the “Is God Is” performance is just the first black-invitation-only event.
On May 5, the Azrieli Studio will debut a second “Black Out” show for the performance of “Heaven.”
The NAC, a federal cultural organization, claimed it was inspired by a 2019 event for Jeremy O’Harris’ “Slave Play” on Broadway.
O’Harris tweeted, “Honored that @CanadasNAC is standing by their commitment to a BLACK OUT performance of one of my favorite plays, ‘IS GOD IS.’”
The theater clarified whether ushers will be race-checking attendees.
It wrote, “If someone self-identifies as a non-Black person and demands to enter the room, a member of our staff will be present to chat with this person. We try our best to have this labour land on a non-Black staff member and we will have non-Black front-of-house, leadership, or technical and production team members present in the lobby to help de-escalate such situations.”
True North discussed the controversy. WATCH:
The National Arts Centre in Ottawa plays the segregation card by inviting a “Black-only” audience to their latest theatrical showing. It’s not racist, it’s inclusive!!
— True North (@TrueNorthCentre) January 29, 2023
Journalist Élie Cantin-Nantel posted replies of backlash that the National Arts Centre hid from their post.
The National Arts Centre is hiding replies amid backlash over an upcoming show they say “will welcome an all-Black identifying audience.” pic.twitter.com/0KWHHTzxo7
— Élie Cantin-Nantel (@elie_mcn) January 25, 2023
Racism is alive and well in Canada. I hope this event is boycotted.https://t.co/IeOVx3E5jC
— Aaron Rock (@DrAaronRock) January 27, 2023
So given that the National Arts Centre now does single-race-only shows, are they planning on doing a whites only show?
— Ian Prittie (@thereds8) January 25, 2023
Quillette podcaster Jonathan Kay tweeted, “I have contacted @CanadasNAC just to confirm that their anti-racial-mixing policy for this event prohibits mixed race couples. Update: a communications official at @CanadasNAC told me that the National Arts Centre will *not* be race-checking attendees. The whole thing is don’t-ask-don’t-tell, apparently.”
Update: a communications official at @CanadasNAC told me that the National Arts Centre will *not* be race-checking attendees. The whole thing is don’t-ask-don’t-tell, apparently. pic.twitter.com/Gfa1RAjPs1
— Jonathan Kay (@jonkay) January 24, 2023
Honored that @CanadasNAC is standing by their commitment to a BLACK OUT performance of one of my favorite plays, “IS GOD IS”.
— THEE ACADEMY Playwright Jeremy O Harris (@jeremyoharris) January 26, 2023
— New York Post (@nypost) January 29, 2023
To get more information about this article, please visit NYPost.com. To weigh in, leave a comment below.
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