Redefining Black Magic: African Americans and the illusion industry

Magic is known to bring smiles to faces and wonder to the mind. Not to mention, magic can make for great television.

For example, “The Carbonaro Effect” and “Penn and Teller: Fool Us” are just two of the more popular American magic shows available on television. But both those shows, and the mainstream magic industry more broadly, lack diversity.

So, how does this lack of diversity impact Black illusionists? How important is representation, and how do you find it in a homogeneous industry? What inspiration can we draw from learning about the Black magicians of the past?

WHYY convened Ran’d Shine, RJ the Magician, and Ice McDonald for a family-friendly magic show followed by a Community Conversation on equity and diversity in the illusion industry. This event was co-organized by Amy Dean, PhD, WHYY’s Community Curator for Willingboro.

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