Wearsiders defend Sunderland after Cynthia Erivo 'trash talk' remarks re-emerge online

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Cynthia Erivo is the new vice president of RADA

Although Cynthia Erivo has insulted Sunderland, she seemed pleased to be in the city when she appeared in Sister Act at the beautiful Sunderland Empire Theatre in 2011.Although Cynthia Erivo has insulted Sunderland, she seemed pleased to be in the city when she appeared in Sister Act at the beautiful Sunderland Empire Theatre in 2011.
Although Cynthia Erivo has insulted Sunderland, she seemed pleased to be in the city when she appeared in Sister Act at the beautiful Sunderland Empire Theatre in 2011. | Getty/NW

Wearsiders have leapt to the defence of their city after disparaging remarks made about Sunderland by an Oscar-nominated actress resurfaced online.

Speaking on a US chat show, The Amber Ruffin Show, in June, 2022 Cynthia Erivo was speaking of her experiences working in British cities.

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She said: "Some cities are wonderful. Other cities are not so wonderful.

"So you go to, like, Manchester and it's incredible 'cos it's, like, it feels like London. Really and truly. You go to Liverpool there's, like, a feeling.

"And then you go to Sunderland and you're, like, 'Where the **** am I? I don't know where I am.

She added her realisation that: "This is... not where I live."

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Ms Erivo, 37, also a singer and a Tony Award winner, is originally from Stockwell near Brixton in south London. This week she was named as the new vice president of RADA.

She appeared at the Sunderland Empire in 2011 when she won plaudits starring in the musical Sister Act, and was warmly welcomed.

She appears in the forthcoming film musical Wicked, in which she plays Elphaba Throbb - the Wicked Witch of the West.

Her comments on Sunderland went largely unnoticed at the time, but have now caused widespread offence and bewilderment since the interview was given a new airing on TikTok.

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Sunderland Conservative councillor Dominic McDonough has written to Miss Erivo saying: "I was very disappointed to listen to your recent interview which criticised Sunderland and was quite frankly very offensive towards the city and the amazing people who live here."

Cllr McDonough listed the city's cultural assets, including its theatres, Pop Recs, the Cultural House and the possible Crown Works studios. He is yet to receive a response.

Cynthia Erivo appeared in Sister Act at the Sunderland Empire, one of Europe's finest theatres, in 2011.Cynthia Erivo appeared in Sister Act at the Sunderland Empire, one of Europe's finest theatres, in 2011.
Cynthia Erivo appeared in Sister Act at the Sunderland Empire, one of Europe's finest theatres, in 2011. | NW

Sunderland actress Melanie Hill tweeted: "I’m shocked Cynthia Erivo making these comments as VP of RADA London. I was a student at RADA and am proud to say I come from Sunderland. This negative jokey trash talk-not VP parlez really."

Labour's North East mayoral candidate Kim McGuinness said: "Cynthia, Sunderland is the real North where sadly we’re used to London-centric attitudes holding us back."

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A contributor to the Ready To Go forum opined: "I’m not offended, but she seems to be a bigoted ********."

Ms Erivo's likening of Manchester to London was intended as a, like, compliment to the North West city.

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