TONIGHT I’m Going to Watch “The Wiz” and Win

TONIGHT I’m Going to Watch “The Wiz” and Win

It’s hard being Black in America. The constant bombardment of racism and ignorance is depressing and exhausting. These last few months have been particularly trying, but tonight…tonight I have a wonderful reason to celebrate my Blackness. Back in the 80’s, the groundbreaking and hilarious Cosby Show almost single-handedly revived the sitcom genre and propelled NBC from the ratings bottom to network leader. Today, mentioning anything Cosby is taboo. Even though the man perpetrated heinous crimes against women, the show he created was a pivotal and revolutionary leap forward for Black America and for all Americans. But when the Cosby Show went off the air, NBC forgot about us. Flash forward many years and with the success of Fox’s juggernaut, Empire, the TV executives finally remembered that they can win by creating and producing quality Black shows with a real Black casts.

I work in advertising selling a Black media product. Nowadays in advertising and corporate America, Black is not a priority. Most multicultural departments and multicultural budgets are decided to reaching Hispanics because “their numbers are growing so fast and they have a language barrier”. I’m often told that the client doesn’t have a Black initiative and I’m left scratching my head.

Companies win when they bet on Black. Years ago when McDonalds was hemorrhaging their coffee business to Starbucks, they rolled out the McCafe program which bombed at first. McDonalds made their franchisees purchase expensive coffee equipment to make super fancy coffees that nobody wanted. The franchisees were pissed and told corporate you better fix this. Finally, McDonalds decided to study the coffee habits of their Black customers. They learned that Black coffee drinkers (the race, not coffee description) want to taste the sugar first, then the cream, then the coffee. It was that simple. McDonalds retooled McCafe using Black consumer insights (8 pumps of sugar and 6 pumps of cream…sound familiar?) and they are again winning in the coffee business. McDonalds learned to lead with Black consumer insights. Right before Thanksgiving, Walmart sales exploded with a $2.3 million boost thanks to James Wright’s hilariously viral video about Patti pies. In one weekend, Patti Pies sold completely out of Walmart because there is economic power in the Black dollar.

The Black community generates over $1.2 trillion dollars in annual spending power. It’s high time corporate America makes us a priority so I’m super excited that NBC decided to tap into our Black power. Tonight I’m going to ease on down the road with a retooled and live production of the Black phenomenon, affectionately and simply known as “The Wiz”. This is the third live production for NBC. The first year was a huge success with the “Sound of Music”. The second year’s “Peter Pan” production flopped so NBC really needs this to be charmed. With the all-Black and all-amazing cast of Ne-Yo, David Alan Grier, Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Common, Stephanie Mills, the fresh face of Shanice Williams, and more, I predict they will a great night.

And though there’s truly no place like home, the only thing better than watching The Wiz on my couch tonight at 7pm cst will be watching with great friends, throwback beats, and delicious cocktails at the place I call The Black Cheers. One of my favorite watering holes, Tantrum, is hosting “The Wiz Y2K15”. There’s no cover charge and drink specials so take your red cup and follow the yellow brick road to Tantrum at 1023 S. State St.


Deanna Burrell is the author of the best-selling novel, Single Girl Summer.

 Described as “Waiting to Exhale” meets “Sex and the City”, your summer won’t be complete without it. Click here to download Single Girl Summer now!

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Filed under: Black Lives Matter, events

Tags: The Wiz

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