Audra McDonald has been included in Variety’s 2021 Inclusion Report. Released annually, this list showcases top creatives pushing forward the needle on diversity and inclusion. Audra is recognized this year for her role in the co-founding of Black Theatre United, an organization created to address the systemic racism in the country and theater community. Founded by 21 artists including Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter and Vanessa Williams, BTU is currently working towards creating mentorships, fighting voter suppression and ensuring safe and anti-racist spaces as theatre reopens. Read the full inclusion report here.
Audra McDonald recently appeared on CBS’s The Talk to discuss several of her upcoming TV and film appearances. She returns in season 5 to CBS’ hit show “The Good Fight” premiering on Paramount+ on June 24. Audra then talks about her role in the new Spectrum Originals drama series “The Bite” and what it was like to film during quarantine. Finally, on her portrayal of Barbara Franklin in the upcoming biopic Respect, Audra says, “”It was an honor to be asked to be a part of it. There’s not a lot that is known about Barbara Franklin…She was a singer. If you look at Aretha Franklin, you’re looking at Barbara…”
On May 17, Audra McDonald co-hosts the virtual gala, “Night of Covenant House Stars” alongside CBS “60 Minutes” Correspondent John Dickerson. This special concert brings together some of today’s biggest stars of the stage and screen in celebrating the resilience of the young people experiencing homelessness at Covenant House, the international charity providing housing, food and healthcare to children and youth facing homelessness. Performers from Hollywood to Broadway will unite to sing and share a message of inspiration. This free event begins at 8pm ET on May 17, and will be streamed live on CovenantHouse.org, Amazon Prime Video, Broadway On Demand, Facebook, YouTube, WNBC and TodayTix. Watch a trailer below, and click here to RSVP.
On April 27, Audra McDonald appears on PBS’s hit series “Finding Your Roots” alongside fellow Broadway veteran Mandy Patinkin. Now in its seventh season, the show follows some of today’s most compelling personalities as they discover the surprising stories buried within their own families. In this episode, host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. investigates the family histories of Audra and Mandy, discovering ancestors whose struggles laid the groundwork for their success. This episode premieres on April 27 at 8pm ET (check your local listings). Click here to watch a trailer.
On May 21, Spectrum Originals premieres “The Bite,” a new satirical drama from creators Robert and Michelle King. The six-episode series follows the lives of two neighbors Rachel (Audra McDonald) and Lily (Taylor Schilling, Orange is the New Black) as they embark on unprecedented times when a deadly new strain of a virus arrives. Navigating New York City’s new normal, Rachel works from home juggling her many telemedicine clients and a shaky marriage to her husband Dr. Zach (Steven Pasquale, The Comey Rule), while Lily tries to convince her Wall Street clientele that her very specific skillset is still just as valuable through a video screen. Co-produced with CBS Studios, the series also features Will Swenson, Phillipa Soo, and Leslie Uggams. Click here for the trailer, or watch below!
On March 26, Black Theatre United released a new video and song titled “Stand for Change” in partnership with The Republic Records Action Committee (R2AC). This powerful and emotional song is brought to life by the 13 award-winning veterans of the Broadway and founders of Black Theatre United: Audra McDonald, Vanessa Williams, Billy Porter, Darius de Haas, Norm Lewis, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Lillias White, Allyson Tucker, Michael McElroy, NaTasha Yvette Williams, LaChanze, Wendell Pierce, and Capathia Jenkins. “I just wanted this to be our legacy and I just didn’t want to do it alone,” Tony-nominated actress Vanessa Williams tells PEOPLE. “I wanted everyone to get together and unite.” The song was also made possible by songwriters and NYU professors Phil Galdston and Dave Schroeder, as well as the NYU orchestra and Musicians United for Social Equity (MUSE). 100% of the net proceeds from the sale of the single will support the ongoing social justice efforts of BTU. “Stand for Change” unites the shared racial equality and social justice missions of BTU and R2AC, aiming not only to challenge racial inequality, but to galvanize communities to stand up for them throughout the country.
Listen to “Stand for Change”: HERE
Watch “Stand for Change”: HERE