A number of black theater actors have come together to form a new coalition, Black Theatre United

By Alexia Fernandez
June 17, 2020 05:22 PM
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Audra McDonald and Vanessa Williams
Steven A Henry/WireImage

Black artists are ushering in a new era of theater.

A new coalition for black actors and actresses, Black Theatre United (BTU), has received the backing of several A-list stars who founded the new organization on the week which marks the emancipation of slaves in America.

Founded to influence reform and combat systemic racism within the theater industry and across the U.S., BTU is aiming to bring about change, honor black culture and heritage as well as serve as an inclusive coalition that welcomes allies.

Vanessa Williams, Audra McDonald, Wendell Pierce, Billy Porter, Phylicia Rashad, Lisa Dawn Cave, Darius de Haas, Brandon Victor Dixon, Carin Ford, Capathia Jenkins, LaChanze, Adriane Lenox, Kenny Leon, Norm Lewis, Michael McElroy, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Allyson Tucker, Tamara Tunie, Lillias White, NaTasha Yvette Williams, and Schele Williams make up the founding group of Black Theatre United.

The group, along with several other stars such as Hamilton actress Renée Elise Goldsberry, Cynthia Erivo, Alfre Woodard, Samuel Jackson and his wife LaTanya Jackson, among others, delivered a special PSA behind the creation of BTU.

"As members of the black theater community, we stand together to help protect black people, black talent and black lives of all shapes and orientations in theatre and communities across the country," they said in an amalgamation of clips. "Our voices are united to empower our community through activism in the pursuit of justice and equality for the betterment of all humanity."

"We will not be silent. We will be seen. We will be heard. We are here. Join us."