Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella hit the Broadway stage in September featuring actress Keke Palmer (playing Cinderella) and Sherri Shepherd (playing the evil stepmother) with actress/reality star NeNe Leakes joining in November. This makes Keke Palmer the first African-American Cinderella on Broadway and Sherri Shepherd as the first African-American stepmother.
While African Americans are breaking barriers in the entertainment industry (with Keke becoming the youngest talk show host in history) they are still met with much criticism. Although some may disapprove of the casting decisions that were made, adding an African-American cast to Broadway could be considered a step in the right direction. Many actors and actresses of other races are still fighting for roles as huge as Cinderella. Even though people are entitled to their own opinions, people should be more supportive that minorities are being given these roles.
Keke’s debut is not to be confused with Brandy Norwood’s role as Cinderella on the silver screen alongside the late Whitney Houston. Once the news broke that Keke was casted in the Broadway show, she told the Associated Press: “I feel like the reason I’m able to do this is definitely because Brandy did it on TV,” Palmer said. “In me doing this, it shows everybody that everything is possible.”
Indeed, anything is possible with hard work and perseverance. Keke has worked her way to the top making history with this particular role. With Keke usually starring in television and films, this is a huge step for her, as well as the African-American race as a whole. The criticism is not warranted because Keke and the other established African-American actors have the credentials and the qualifications to play the role. Talent should be what matters most. It is good to see a young actress leading by example. If you have the opportunity to see the show on Broadway, take advantage of it and enjoy!