Ariana became the first queer woman of colour to win an Oscar earlier this year

BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE VIA ARIANA DEBOSE ON INSTAGRAM

On Sunday evening, Ariana DeBose – star of West Side Story – opened the 2022 Tony Awards with a Broadway medley. Hosting this year’s event, she paid homage to musical theatre classics Cabaret, Pippin, The Wiz, The Sound of Music, Rent, A Chorus Line and Hamilton, all the while wearing a totally star-studded, sequin-soaked outfit. The queer energy was insane.

Thanking all those working in theatre, Ariana sang: “To every team, every cast, in present, future and past, tonight at last, this is a round of applause/For the last 75 years, you kept it alive here, cheers! High five/’Cause you know the show would never go on if we didn’t all come together as one.” She also remarked upon how the theatre industry has changed to reflect the diverse communities that adore it, stating the end of the “great white way”. Theatre is now “more reflective of the community who adores it”, she smiled.

“It has shown us stories that have broadened our world and opened our hearts and minds,” she said. “While we have not solved all of our problems, I feel like the phrase ‘great white way’ is becoming more of a nickname than a ‘how to’ guide.” Further, she remarked that L Morgan Lee is the first openly transgender performer to be nominated for a Tony, singing that “she won’t be the last.” She also referenced scenic designer Adam Rigg as the first out-gender nominee and composer Toby Marlow as the first non-binary winner.

All in all, the performance was saturated with queer euphoria, with Ariana turning the lens on LGBTQI representation in theatre. Earlier this year, she became the first queer woman of colour to win an Oscar, picking up the accolade for Best Supporting Actress. If you’d like to read more about Ariana’s journey towards coming out, the work she does to support LGBTQI communities and her work on West Side Story, you can read a sneak peak of her interview with DIVA Magazine in the January 2022 issue here. (Psst…there’s a longer version here!)

To keep up with Ariana, follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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