Taye Diggs As First African American Drag Queen Lead Role: Good or bad For Black Men?

Taye Diggs As First African American Drag Queen Lead Role: Good or bad For Black Men?

The announcement that Taye Diggs will be the first African American actor to take on the iconic role of drag queen Hedwig in the Broadway musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” has many people asking: what effect will this have on the black male community? Will this effect be positive or negative? Diggs has said he is “honored and flattered” to have been chosen for the role, and while many feel his casting is a progressive move, others believe that depicting a black man in such a role is unflattering and emasculating, and will be seen as an unfavorable reflection on the black male community.

Taye Diggs As First African American Drag Queen Lead Role- Good or bad For Black Men

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There are some who feel that the casting of a black man in a gay or transsexual role, such as Hedwig, is a way for the entertainment industry to emasculate black men. Such people equate feminization with weakness, and believe that by putting a black man in a dress and make-up, he will appear silly and less threatening, drawing on the damaging stereotype that all black men are dangerous and to be feared. Given the hateful and unfair treatment that African Americans have historically undergone in this country, it is understandable that some black men would fear anything that might hold their community back in their own or anyone else’s eyes.

However, we are living in a time when we are more open and accepting about such issues as homosexuality and gender nonconformity than we have ever been as a society. Perhaps the casting of an established, well-respected actor like Taye Diggs in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” can be taken as a sort of validation for both the black male community and the LGBT community. The portrayal of a transsexual drag queen by a man of color could be the beginning of a real celebration on Broadway of diversity of all kinds, whether it be in gender, color or sexual orientation. Taye Diggs in the role of Hedwig could be taken as a step forward for all marginalized groups everywhere: an example of two worlds colliding and strengthening each other by coming together.

The casting of Taye Diggs as a drag queen has opened the door for other black men to play such roles, and this prospect need not be seen as negative. The purpose of drag is to embrace exactly who you are, and to be as fabulous and beautiful as only you can be. With a major African American actor in the role of a drag queen, perhaps it will actually be empowering for members of the black male community to see themselves in that light.

Is Taye Diggs’ New Drag Queen Role Progressive or Harmful as a Black Man?|Reel Network

Actor Taye Diggs accepts drag queen role in the hit Broadway musical ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’| Mass Appeal News

Taye Diggs Reveals Black Men Are Scarred by Colorism| Popular Critic

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19 thoughts on “Taye Diggs As First African American Drag Queen Lead Role: Good or bad For Black Men?

  • June 7, 2015 at 5:13 pm
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    Taye diggs is not the first. Wesley snipes in toi wong foo. This shoud not be an issue.

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    • June 12, 2015 at 11:51 pm
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      He is playing a role written for, and always played by, a white man. This is HUGE! We should be celebrating, not knocking him down.

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  • June 7, 2015 at 6:05 pm
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    Doesn’t Ving Rhames’ portrayal of Holiday, the lead character in the film adaptation of Holiday Heart, or Wesley Snipes’ romp as Noxema Jackson in To Wong Foo: Thanks For Everything count for anything?

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    • June 12, 2015 at 11:51 pm
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      All of those actors were in roles written for black men, still wonderful, but this role was written for a white man, it’s about talent and not race, and that is a significant first. Please don’t take away this much deserved credit.

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  • June 7, 2015 at 7:35 pm
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    Has no one seen To Wong Foo?! Wesley snipes did it first. Believe that. And there’s nothing wrong with it. He’s playing a part and anybody who doesn’t understand that is very small minded and ignorant

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  • June 7, 2015 at 10:37 pm
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    Wesley Snipes had a lead role as a drag queen in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar in 1995. Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo were also lead actors in that movie.

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  • June 7, 2015 at 10:42 pm
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    Wesley Snipes has already played the role of black man turned drag queen. One of my favorite movies, Too Wong Foo. Thanks for everything Julie Newmar. So I don’t see what the problem is.

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  • June 8, 2015 at 12:47 am
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    Soooo, we’re gonna act like Martin (Shanaenae) or Wesley Snipes in “To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar” didn’t happen? Ok. Just checking.

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    • June 9, 2015 at 8:45 am
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      This article only is reporting what was said by sources, of course no one could ever forget Noxzema Jackson! A classic in American cinema!

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  • June 8, 2015 at 5:41 pm
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    I guess Wesley Snipes is not African American. He is just BLACK. Lmao

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    • June 9, 2015 at 8:43 am
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      We didn’t make the announcement, we reported the announcement, Wesley Snipes as Noxzema was awesome.

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  • June 9, 2015 at 2:43 pm
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    Has the author of this story ever seen the film or Broadway production of Kinky Boots?

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    • June 11, 2015 at 3:12 am
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      It is referring to that role, Welsey Snipes also portrayed a drag queen

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  • June 9, 2015 at 11:19 pm
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    I think they’re talking about the in particular character not him being the first in general.

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    • June 11, 2015 at 3:08 am
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      I thought so too

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  • June 10, 2015 at 4:11 pm
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    Do your research before making a bombastic title. Broadway superstar Billy Porter won the damn Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical in 2013 for his stunning portrayal of Lola, the drag queen, in “Kinky Boots.” And seeing as Neil Patrick Harris won the Tony Award in the same category the following year for the role in-which Taye is about to step-into, I’d say all these men are in good company!

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    • June 12, 2015 at 11:44 pm
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      That is the point, he is taking over a role that has always been played by a white man so it’s about talent, not race, a very big deal

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  • June 11, 2015 at 2:31 pm
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    Aside from wesley, u have shanane,ugly wanda, didn’t ving rhames dress n drag as well as Wil smith dressing as a woman? He may be the first on Broadway. ……but if we must go back, let’s go back to Mr.Flip Wilson who was one of the first AA males to step n front of a camera n drag.
    come on Hollywood. …DO UR RESEARCH! !

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    • June 12, 2015 at 3:35 am
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      He is the first actor of color to play a Broadway role that has always been played by a white actor, please read the article before you think we are wrong, it’s a big deal

      Reply

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