The Prom location, Indiana, is unfortunately on point

A local review of The Prom (2020) which action takes place in Indiana tried to make the case the state isn’t that backwards about accepting gay people by resorting to a nasty racist trope.

I recently watched The Prom (2020) with my partner, a musical about four Broadway stars on the decline flying for the wrong reasons to the help of a gay Indiana high-schooler as the PTA decides to cancel prom if she was allowed to attend.

The movie is what it is, others have reviewed it at better length than I could ever do, but I was wondering if the movie and the Broadway musical it’s an adaptation from were based on a real event. It turns out they aren’t, but during my search I ended up reading a review published by the Indy Star, a local newspaper. I was interested to see how the homophobic Indiana depicted in the beginning of the movie was resonating with local folks.

Most of the article deplores the actual lack of Indiana-specific references, but then there is this infamous quote:

“It is also hard to nail down a community that would be so fiercely opposed to even the smallest of LGBTQ+ rights while also having a Black woman as head of the PTA and a Black man as the high school principal.”

Justin L. Mack

Now, I’m familiar with this very racist trope reducing black people to obligatory progressives, but I was surprised to see it so casually used in a text essentially saying “we’re not that homophobic”.

In retrospect, it totally validates the writers’ choice to set this movie in Indiana, and while I’m not usually inclined to share every racist bit I encounter on Internet, this particular egregious example stuck with me long enough that I felt like it deserved this article.

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