‘Caroline, or Change’ star shares most shocking racist encounters in industry

'Caroline, or Change' star shares most shocking racist encounters in industry
English actress Sharon D Clarke.
(Photo courtesy of Roundabout Theatre Company)

English award-winning actress Sharon D Clarke held back no punches.

On Dec. 2, the “Caroline, or Change” star shared her appreciation for Roundabout Theatre Company’s dedication to diversity and opened up about past encounters with racism within show business.

“Caroline, or Change” is showing through Jan. 9, 2022 at Studio 54 in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

 What do you think should happen sooner than later to make real change in this society?

We need to stop chatting and start doing. It’s very simple- be more inclusive. If you look around your office and it’s it’s all White. Think again. If you look at the plays that are coming into your theater, and they’re all White, think again. We need the allies … to step forward, step up, join us and truly advocate change. I’m very proud when I look at the team of ‘Caroline ‘that it is diverse. We have White, Chinese, we have a Black conductor Joseph Joubert, who was also one of the original orchestrators. I am very proud as a Black woman at the end of the night to put my hand up and show that we have a Black man conducting the show.

Growing up as a black woman in England and being a performer, what was that experience like?

Usually, you’re dealing with this as the only Black person in the room, the only person representing. Different things [were asked] from having a director ask me how does one “pick cotton?” I’m like, “Well, I grew up in Tottenham, we don’t have any cotton fields. It’s not like that [it’s] just in my DNA as a Black person.”

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