For Noni Diarra, a West Chester University student and a member of the Chocolate Ballerina Company in Philadelphia, meeting Kyla Stone, the first Black lead in the Broadway musical Anastasia, was a special moment, writes Peter Crimmins for WHYY.
Diarra was four years old when she got the chance to perform her first recital in front of an audience, on the stage of the Merriam Theater. Sixteen years later, she returned to the same venue to watch Anastasia.
“I don’t know why I’m crying,” said Diarra. “Being able to see people who look like me in a space like this is amazing.”
Diarra, who is studying biology at WCU, will soon be performing in the all-Black production of “The Nutcracker … Dipped in Chocolate.” Members of her company were invited to watch the Broadway show and talk with the cast afterward.
“I always grew up wanting to see princesses that looked like me,” said Stone.
Now that so many are looking up at her as she expresses herself and her emotions and her voice on stage, “that’s all I could wish for, and something that I wish I had when I was younger.”
Read more about Noni Diarra at WHYY.