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VIDEO: Broadway Stage Manager Cody Renard Richard Talks Racism & Accountability on CNN

Broadway stage manager Cody Renard Richard spoke with CNN on June 5th to discuss his experiences with racism while working on Broadway, and what he hopes to see in the industry moving forward.

In the interview, Richard said, "In my industry, there's a lot of producers and institutions putting out statements to do better...We need to see plans. We need to see people step up and actually put these plans into place. Our union has to support that. There has to be no tolerance for racism in the workplace, especially in the arts."

Watch the interview below!

Richard also shared his first-hand examples with racism on Broadway in an Instagram post: "I was standing backstage at Motown the Musical on Broadway wearing my hoodie and a stagehand came up to me and said, 'Hey Trayvon.' I started a new gig on Broadway, and one actress decided not to learn my name at first. Instead, she decided it was OK to call me 'Brown *insert name of the employee I replaced' for a month, because she thought it was a funny joke. I've had my supervisor tell me to deal with a certain situation because I could relate to the issue. 'You're Black.' I've constantly heard the never funny joke of 'Smile, so I can see you' when standing backstage IN THE DARK doing my job. I've listened to countless white peers say, 'They won't hire me, Black is in right now-you're lucky.' Sadly, I could go on and on with these examples, but I'll stop there."

Community is a word to suggest unity. A word that suggests inclusion. A word that suggests we all share common attitudes, interests and goals. So many things have been said the last couple of days, but I want to speak directly to the Broadway and Theatre "community." I've been very fortunate to live in this NYC bubble for the last 10 years and to be a part of this "community," but racism is everywhere. If you still don't see it, let me paint a better picture for you. My entire career I've had to prove that I was exceptional just to thrive and get the same job as some of my less than exceptional peers. I've had to tone myself and sometimes my blackness down for you to accept me. I've had to remove myself from situations, because it made you feel uncomfortable, when in fact I was THE ONE feeling the most out of place. I'm exhausted. I'm tired of walking out of THE ROOM when I feel uncomfortable because of you. I'm tired of laughing awkwardly when your racist jokes aren't funny. I'm tired of having to defend MY skin color, just to make YOU feel better. I'm so tired and I simply won't stand for it anymore. Here are a just a FEW small examples that have happened to me: *I was standing backstage at Motown the Musical on Broadway wearing my hoodie and a stagehand came up to me and said "Hey Trayvon." *I started a new gig on Broadway and one actress decided to not learn my name at first. Instead, she decided it was ok to call me "Brown *insert name of the employee I replaced*" for a month, because she thought it was a funny joke. *I've had my supervisor tell me to deal with a certain situation because I could relate to the issue. "You're Black." *I've constantly heard the never funny joke of "smile, so I can see you" when standing backstage IN THE DARK doing my job. *I've listened to countless white peers say "They won't hire me, Black is in right now - you're lucky." Sadly, I could go on and on with these examples, but I'll stop there. To my non-black colleagues and friends, please take a strong look at how you move through the world. If you're not actively anti-racism, then what do you stand for? **CONTINUED IN COMMENTS**

A post shared by Cody Renard Richard (@codyrenard) on Jun 1, 2020 at 7:25am PDT

Richard is a stage manager who has worked on several Broadway shows including Hamilton, Freestyle Love Supreme, and Kinky Boots. His credits also include Dear Evan Hansen, Paramour, and After Midnight on Broadway, Evita at New York City Center, and NBC's The Wiz, Hairspray, and Jesus Christ Superstar.



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