The Wiz Was a Live Display of Black Excellence, Community and Hair

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NBC took no risks in dedicating three live hours to an all Black cast. Network TV shows like ABC’s Scandal and Fox’s Empire have already shown that if you put Black people on TV, viewers will not only tune in, they’ll tweet. As was the case last night when the TV reprisal of The Wiz aired, touting an all-star cast that included Ne-yo, Uzo Aduba, Queen Latifah, Common, Mary J. Blige, David Alan Grier, Amber Riley, Elijah Kelly, Stephanie Mills and newcomer Shanice Williams who played Dorothy.

The Reception

Of course one could count on Twitter for a funny and sentimental play-by-play of the show. Many who grew up having either seen the original Broadway play and/or the classic film starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, tuned in to reconnect with a piece of art that represented so much for the Black community when it first debuted, while it was given new life and introduced to a new generation with modern tweaks, like Dorothy using the phrase “what had happened was…” and the popular dance the Nae Nae being worked into the choreography.


Elsewhere on Twitter, in a moment that called up the scarecrow’s sentiments, “you can’t win chile…,” it seemed like Black people just couldn’t have a special moment without someone raining on the parade. Tweets emerged on twitter calling the broadcast racist for only featuring African-Americans. (*Face palm*). For that there was a simple response…


The Hair

The exuberant colors, take-it-to-church singing, and star-studded cast wasn’t the only thing that held viewers’ attention last night. What would a show with an all-Black cast be without a variety of hair styles. From Dorothy’s simple curly locks to bright-colored afro puffs, finger waves and high-tops sported by the supporting cast, the show was a fun display of Black hair versatility.

Queen Latifah rocked a white and green pompadour as The Wiz. Watch a highlight of her performance below.

The Show Stealer

Although the live broadcast of a community classic was enough to set Twitter aflutter, one cast member in particular seemed to be trending a bit more than the rest. Known for her role in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black as ‘Crazy Eyes,’ Uzo Aduba seemed to surprise more than a few people with her ability to sing. Few know that the actress is a classically trained singer and (additional fun fact) was an ice skater for 10 years.


Here’s a clip of Aduba singing… NBC has yet to release an official version.

Did you guys catch the show? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Photos: NBC
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An entrepreneur at heart, I founded Unruly in 2013 after spending six great years in advertising. I’m über lazy when it comes to doing my hair so I’m always looking for easy and quick ways to care and style my hair.

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