JK ROWLING has praised “dignified” Hermione actress Noma Dumezweni after a twitter user said the actress is “nothing like” the character.
The Olivier winning actress took on the role in 2016, and suffered a torrent of abuse from social media users who claimed the character couldn’t be played by a black woman.
However, the best-selling author said the actress’ humble response proved that she was the “perfect” choice to embody the famous witch.
Dumezweni plays the legendary heroine in the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stage adaptation, which after a successful West End run is now moving to Broadway.
In December, Aaliyah Shaikh tweeted JK Rowling, saying: “I know this is too late but why is Noma Dumezweni playing Hermione? She is nothing like Hermione and this is not fair. It is going to be very difficult for me to accept her.”
The actress, who has remained relatively quiet during the initial row, decided to give the Harry Potter fan some advice.
However, Dumezweni hit back with a humble response. She said: “That’s OK – you’ve got a lifetime to deal with that. Don’t sweat the small stuff. There’s bigger stuff to deal with right now. Breathe.”
This earned her praise from the best-selling author, whose reply read: “Noma Dumezweni demonstrates why she was the perfect choice to play the battle-hardened, dignified and generous adult Hermione.”
Noma’s reply was: “Thank You so Much Jo. Looking forward to giving you a MaaaaaHuuSive hug in NY.”
Dumezweni was also celebrated by fellow Hermione actress Rakie Ayola. She said: “If only we could all face the world in such an intelligent, dignified, warm, truly open-hearted way. You shine MissDumezweni and I salute you.”
Ayola, who took over the role of Hermionie in the West End show, also replied to the original tweet. She said: “Hi Dr. Shaikh. I’d say Noma’s beautiful, dignified, warm, intelligent, open-hearted response to your question is exactly why she has been asked to continue playing the role for which she has already won numerous awards.”
Other social media users joined in with praising the actress.
Grace O’Sullivan said: “I was lucky enough to see you in August 2016. And you were incredible as Hermione. You portrayed her feisty spirit, and slight bossiness, perfectly.”
Another commented: “My god, you’re gracious, Noma. Honestly. You’re every bit as inspirational, intelligent, strong and kind as Hermione. As someone who’s seen you in the role many times, you inhabit her completely. Warm strength and intelligence.”
While Laura Stone added: “You made the production for me. Strong, dignified, funny, playful, commanding and beautiful. You embodied a much loved character, making her your own.”
Brandon Moore said simply: “Such a classy, elegant response. She’s an incredible actress, and is wonderful as Hermione.”
In June last year, the writer revealed her frustration at the online reaction to Dumezweni being cast as Emma Watson’s character, branding critics a “bunch of racists.”
Speaking at the time, Rowling said: “I had a bunch of racists telling me that because Hermione ‘turned white’ – that is, lost colour from her face after a shock – that she must be a white woman, which I have a great deal of difficulty with. But I decided not to get too agitated about it and simply state quite firmly that Hermione can be a black woman with my absolute blessing and enthusiasm.”
She added that Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job.