West End star claims she was barred from singing in Dreamgirls ballad because 'she is white'; Queen's Brian May erupts
Because she is not black and the song is part of an African American musical, the 45-year-old West End star claims she was barred from performing it.
According to a British singer's claims, she was disallowed from performing a song from Dreamgirls at the Royal Albert Hall because she is white. Back in October, Mazz Murray was due to perform her rendition of a ballad from the musical, which was also supposed to be the highlight of her performance.
However, because she is not black and the song is part of an "African American musical", the 45-year-old West End star was barred from performing it, reports the DailyMail. That said, according to rockstar Brian May, the decision showed an "unpleasant new kind of race-based injustice."
Should Mazz be refused permission to sing a song – because she's white ? It seems that some theatre impresarios, out of fear of being branded discriminatory to artists of colour, are making decisions that discriminate against white artists, which are being perceived by some as a unpleasant new kind of race-based injustice. This lady has been denied permission to sing a song at the Albert Hall, apparently for racial reasons. She's white and Jewish, and one of the most electrifying singers in Britain. Her name is Mazz Murray @mazzwoman, and Queen fans will remember her incredible 8 year run playing the part of Killer Queen in our musical We Will Rock You. She's currently starring in Chicago, the musical, in London's West End. Mazz was booked to headline a concert at the Albert Hall (Oct 8th) – the planned highlight being her outstanding performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”. This is a song featured in the successful musical Dreamgirls, currently at the Savoy Theatre, London. When the producers of the Albert Hall show asked for permission for Mazz to sing the song, they were told that Dreamgirls is an “African American Musical” and they did not think it appropriate for a non-BAME company to perform the songs from it. So Mazz has been denied permission to sing the song because she’s not black. Does anybody out there find this shocking ? Unjust ? As a writer of songs myself, I'd be horrified if any singer were denied the right to sing one of my songs because he/she was ‘from the wrong ethnic group’. Surely it’s insane that, while the musical Hamilton has been applauded for putting black artists on the stage to play famously white historical figures, and soon we will have a black Emily Pankhurst, this fabulous white singer is banned from singing an “African American” song in a concert ? What a strange world this is becoming. What think you, folks ? Do you think musicals should henceforth be identified with one ethnic group, and nobody who doesn’t belong to that group should be allowed to perform the songs ? Or should Mazz Murray be given the chance to perform this excellent torch song at the Albert Hall ? Photo: Darren Bell - Bri
May applauded Murray's contribution of eight years to his band Queen’s musical 'We Will Rock You', in which she starred as the Killer Queen. He wrote on Instagram: "It seems some theatre impresarios, out of fear of being branded discriminatory to artists of color, are making decisions that discriminate against white artists. "This lady has been denied permission to sing a song at the Albert Hall, apparently for racial reasons. She’s white and Jewish, and one of the most electrifying singers in Britain."
Murray is the daughter of pop songwriter Mitch Murray and is currently starring in 'Chicago'. As part of an evening called 'The Best of the West End', she was due to sing 'And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going'. According to May, the musical's owners reportedly said it was not "appropriate" for a white woman to perform the ballad when they were approached by the show's producers, Seventh Sense, to ask permission for the same.
Based on acts such as The Supremes, Dreamgirls first began on Broadway and was adapted into a film in 2006 starring Beyoncé.
Should Mazz be refused permission to sing a song – because she's white ?— Dr. Brian May (@DrBrianMay) August 13, 2018
It seems that some theatre impresarios, out of fear of being branded discriminatory to artists of colour, are… https://t.co/bWm0VO6gd4
Having said that, Seventh Sense and Murray's representatives are yet to respond to requests for comment. Back in May, rapper Kendrick Lamar stopped a white fan on stage while singing his hit M.A.A.D city when she used the N-word, although it was a part of his lyrics.
In a conversation with BBC News, South London grime artist Yizzy said at the time, "Every person can say what they want, there's freedom of speech, but you have a responsibility. If you use the word... and you're not of any black heritage, in this modern day world, be prepared to face a backlash."
On the contrary, journalist and blogger Jessica Noah Morley commented: "If you don't want people to sing an offensive word, it should not be sung or included in the song in the first place.
"We, myself included, have to be careful about being hypocritical and implementing a double standard when it comes to race relations. The N-word is, and will always be offensive, no matter who says it."