A Black actress named Noma Dumezweni has been cast as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts I & II, the play set to premiere next year in London. And J.K. Rowling "loves" it. When asked on Twitter what she thinks of the casting, the author responded: "Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione." (Rowling also added a kissy-face emoji.) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child finds the Potter threesome in adulthood. Harry is now an "overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic," and his son, Albus, "must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted." According to the synopsis: "As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places." Jamie Parker is set to play Harry and Paul Thornley will take on the role of Ron. Parker, Thornley, and Dumezweni all have extensive theater credits. Dumezweni won an Olivier Award in 2006 for her work in A Raisin in the Sun. Other former members of the Potter-verse have also expressed their support. Matthew Lewis who plays Neville Longbottom in the movies, responded to a tweet asking his "thoughts" by saying: "And Neville Longbottom was blonde. I really don't care. Good luck to her." Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood in the films, tweeted:
Indeed many are celebrating the casting, a compelling choice given that the story of Harry Potter has the proven power to combat prejudice. It's especially heartening to see Rowling's universe moving in this direction considering that the Potter prequel movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, has been criticized for its lack of diversity. Though Emma Watson has been the only one to play the character until now, the idea of a Black Hermione isn't a new. In February, BuzzFeed's Alanna Bennett examined how artists on Tumblr have reimagined Hermione as woman of color. Bennett explained: "I was seeing parts of myself actually spelled out in this character I’d always related to." The play begins previews in June 2016.